The last several years it has opened the Friday before Thanksgiving to give visitors and residents plenty of opportunity to get their holiday spirit fix. This year, they're running a little behind — actually about two weeks behind — thanks to Mother Nature.

Help save Christmas at Lake of the Ozarks — or at least help get its largest holiday light park open in time for the kickoff of the season.

The Laurie Parks Department is looking for a little muscle to help them get the annual Enchanted Village of Lights up and running by Thanksgiving. This holiday drive-through light park is a surprising delight on the “quiet side” of the Lake of the Ozarks, featuring dynamic displays of twinkle lights around the 27-acre Hillbilly Fairgrounds.

The last several years it has opened the Friday before Thanksgiving to give visitors and residents plenty of opportunity to get their holiday spirit fix. This year, they’re running a little behind — actually about two weeks behind — thanks to Mother Nature. 

Retired parks coordinator Susann Huff has been brought back to help new coordinator Barbie Wood. According to Huff, bad weather first caused the annual Fall Follies car show in September to be postponed until mid-October, and now more recent rains and now early snowy weather has put a damper on getting the installations up.

The ranks of the park’s once-numerous volunteer core have also been depleted due to retirement as Huff stepped down in recent years.

It’s left the Enchanted Village in a bit of a bind, and younger hands are needed get the light park open in time for the Westside’s lighted Christmas parade on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a favorite holiday tradition for many area residents to attend the parade and then tour the light parks in town — there’s also one at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Many of the displays are now up, but spotlights, sponsor signs and building decorations remain.

New volunteers are invited to help any time they have time during the day. People are working daily to get the light park open.

Last year, 28,500 people in more than 8,000 vehicles drove through the Enchanted Village of Lights. The light park is free, but does accept donations from visitors. These proceeds help fund community activities and upkeep of the fairgrounds. 

While she’s not sure exactly how they’re going to do it, Huff says she is determined to open the light park by Thanksgiving night. Come be part of the magic.

For more information and to see about volunteering your time, call the park office at 573-374-8776 or 573-216-9427.