Click here for the latest on the arrest of a suspect in this case.
Vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage to Jolly Holiday Lights. The display at Water Works Park raises money for Make-A-Wish Iowa.
“This is my Christmas light display. We spend enough time out here that most of us don’t want to see more lights when we go home,” says Al Knudsen.
He and other Jolly Holiday Lights volunteers spent three weekends putting up about 80 displays.
“To have vandals do this. It’s just incomprehensible,” says Knudsen.
A private security guard didn’t see the vandals enter the park early Sunday morning, but there was no missing the mess they left behind.
“We had several displays, particularly some of the big over the road ones that everyone likes so much, severely damaged,” says Rob Kelly, President of Make-A-Wish Iowa.
They can fix some of the displays, but other will need to be replaced.
“Our really popular snowman who shoots the basketball over the road, completely destroyed. It looks like a car probably ran right through that,” says Kelly.
Organizers put early damage estimates at around $25,000.
“When we see this kind of damage, we immediately think that’s less dollars going to wishes,” he says.
Admission to the light display funds nearly a quarter of the Make-A-Wish program. Since 1995, the charity has granted more than 500 wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses. The volunteers cleaning up and replacing what vandals destroyed are trying not to let what happened put a damper on their holiday cheer.
“You can’t let it get in the way of the holidays,” says Kelly.
Jolly Holiday Lights is open tonight. You can check out the display from 5:30 to 10 PM every night through January 1st at Water Works Park.
A suspect has been arrested in this case, details are here.