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New light display in Seminole is example of Oklahoma communities coming together for holiday celebrations

Seminole Lions Club members are pleased with the community's response to “Snowman Wonderland” and are looking to the future
by Bryan Painter Published: December 9, 2012

The Lions Club sold 12 displays.

Then it sold 12 more.

“The first thing we knew, we ended up with 60,” Craig said. “We finally had to stop because the lady who makes them in Chickasha with her husband, just couldn't produce any more. We had really wanted to stop back in September, but once people knew about it, it just kind of snowballed.”

Their community

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Snowman Wonderland made its debut in this community of about 7,400 people.

There is no charge for admission to Snowman Wonderland.

People can take a walking path stroll from 6 to 10 nightly through Jan. 3. However, each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Dec. 20, the Lions Club will operate the tram, allowing visitors to ride along the walking track to view the displays. And on those three nights of each week, different groups and/or businesses present different activities. The Santa Paws contest has been held, but there are more activities to come.

Ernie Willis, emergency management director for the city of Seminole, has lived here for 35 years. Willis proudly began naming some of the many things his hometown offers. With his right index finger, he started numbering them off, tapping on his pinkie, ring, middle and then index finger. Skipping his thumb, he began again and named more.

Willis, also a member of the Lions Club, arrives each night around 5:30.

“I came out the other night and as I plugged in the lights on the gingerbread house,” Willis said, “two cars pulled in and stopped. There were eight people who jumped out of the two cars, six kids and two adults. People love it.”

Craig said that in addition to the overwhelming support of the community, city employees and inmates from Davis Correctional at Holdenville worked diligently to have the Snowman Wonderland ready by late November.

More to offer

Organizers also see the holiday light display as a way to bring more attention to the Seminole's wellness center, whose name is derived from a $7.9 million “Community Centers Initiative” given to the city by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

The 39,000-square-foot center includes two basketball courts, an indoor walking track, workout areas with fitness equipment and free weights, three meeting rooms, a kitchen and much more.

“This is a great location because of the center and the outdoor walking track,” Craig said. “This is already a success because people can't believe the number of displays we have for our first get-together. I think we'll add on to it. Oh, I know we will, because we had people who did not get to sponsor one that wanted to. I just think it's something that will highlight our community and bring visitors to our town.

“It shows what Seminole's about — togetherness.”