Enchantment in the Park in West Bend's Regner Park takes place every year between Black Friday (November 24, 2023) and Christmas Eve (December 24, 2023). At this year's event, they are also hosting their inaugural Reindeer Run to benefit West Bend Friends of Parks and Recreation.
Lori Yahr of Enchantment in the Park and West Bend Friends of Parks and Rec joins me this week to talk about the Reindeer Run, its route, and how you can get involved!
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Fuzz Martin 0:08
Ope, we're sneaking right into the holiday season. Thanks for tuning in to Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. I'm your host Fuzz Martin and this is a show about all the positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. Yes, the release date for this episode is technically on Halloween. Yes, we're going to be talking about some things related to the Christmas season. Yes, I understand. You're probably judging me for that right now. But I say to you, bah humbug. Besides the West Bend tree lighting ceremony takes place this Thursday as this episode comes out. That's November 2, from six to 7pm. So there.
Fuzz Martin 0:45
This week we're speaking with Lori Yahr. Lori is a repeat guest on the show and she's also a part of West Bend's Friends of Parks and Recreation each year friends of parks puts on Enchantment in the Park in West Bend's Regner park, but we're not here to just talk about Enchantment in the Park. Today, we're talking about their inaugural Reindeer Run, which is coming up on Saturday, December 9. See I had to give you some time to get signed up for that. With that here are 15 minutes on the all new Reindeer Run at Enchantment in the Park with Lori Yahr on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.
Fuzz Martin 1:27
Lori, thank you for joining me today to start. Can we first talk about Enchantment in the Park? And what is it? When did it get started? How long you've been doing it?
Lori Yahr 1:35
I was I was yes. We started in 2009. So we're into our 15th year which is unbelievable, because I've been with it since the beginning. And so it's crazy that that time just keeps getting longer. But it's it's a great event is that Regner Park, we have it every year it starts the day after Thanksgiving and runs until Christmas Eve.
Fuzz Martin 1:53
And so speaking of runs until Christmas Eve this year in chairman of the park is introducing a new 5k Run and one mile walk called the reindeer run right? That's correct. That's correct. So what inspired you to add this to the chairman of the park?
Lori Yahr 2:08
We have an entertainment nightly and we're always looking for new things to add to our entertainment list. We have a Barbie night this year, which is going to be fun. But then we want we are looking for interactive activities. And of course a run walk is an interactive activity for sure.
Fuzz Martin 2:23
Absolutely. And so how does this new Reindeer Run fit into Enchantment in the Park's mission of supporting local charities like what organization or organizations will benefit from the Reindeer Run.
Lori Yahr 2:35
Okay, the Reindeer Run is being hosted by the West Bend Rriends of Park and Rec Okay, so all of the proceeds from this event will go back into the West Bend park system.
Fuzz Martin 2:43
So tell me a bit about West Bend Friends of Park and Rec what do they do? How does a Friends of Park and Rec organization work? And how do they support parks?
Lori Yahr 2:52
Well, we've got a board of about 10 people and we run three summary events. We've run the beer garden in West Bend, Regner Fest and German Night down at Regner Park. And then we help out Enchantment in the Park, setting up one of the areas and taking it down. And then this is new to our list of things we do
Fuzz Martin 3:10
Great. So a Friends of Park and Rec committee is separate. That's not the Parks and Rec Department of the City, right? It's a separate nonprofit.
Lori Yahr 3:17
It is a separate nonprofit, we really don't have anything to do with the city. They are one of the perks. One of the people from the rec department always sit at our board meetings. But really it's a it's a solely run committee that just wants to support the parks.
Fuzz Martin 3:30
So what got you involved with being a part of Friends of Parks and Rec and why is that important to you?
Lori Yahr 3:36
Well, I worked for the city for 22 years, and I worked for the parks department. So I retired and I you know, you should always have a plan when you retire. You have to have something to do. And they asked me to be the executive director for the friends group. And of course, I said yes. And so we do all those summer events. And they're, they're fun. And we're still with friends that are bartender and sell food. So it's just a fun thing to do.
Fuzz Martin 3:57
Excellent. So going back to the Reindeer Run 5k Sorry, got us off course. But what is the the course for the 5k this year? Where are people going to be running?
Lori Yahr 4:06
We start in front of the entertainment area, which is the stage at the silver lining stage at Ragnar Park. And then you go around the park three times that it's a mile walk to do it once and then it's a timed run and they take you around three times. And we are working with Silver Circle. They are an organization out of a running company out of a kind of walk. And so they've done they do oh probably 40 runs a year. So they were very seasoned on how to do the runs. And it's it is a time to run for the winners. So for the top finishers. We have 90 top finishers in each not in each category, but somebody total total split between the categories. Every winner will get a every one of the 90 will get a medal and then the top two winners get a $200 gift certificate
Fuzz Martin 4:51
Right so the top male and female and their caregivers. Yes. Excellent. On top of that, so you're running through in chairman of the park. So is this happening during the Anytime we're having a night,
Lori Yahr 5:00
It happens. It starts at 4:30 on December 9, so it'll be dark. And what we do is we don't allow traffic into the park until after the run is over. So it really is your only opportunity to either walk through the park with all the lights on underneath the lights or run through the park. So it's your it's your park, I'd say don't worry about car traffic at all during that time.
Fuzz Martin 5:21
Awesome. And then do you have any other unique holiday or winter theme elements along the way besides the obviously chairman of the park going on around it?
Lori Yahr 5:29
Oh, that's that's pretty much it. But that's enough. We have a lot of lights, we have over a million lights out there. So yeah, and we add we added again this year, so there's always something to see. And ya know, it's pretty spectacular.
Fuzz Martin 5:40
And we'll chat about a champion of the park and some of the things that are new this year coming up. But with the run, it's the inaugural Reindeer Run and you guys anticipate of doing this every year now moving forward? Is this something new?
Lori Yahr 5:52
If it's successful, and it seems to be already we are getting registrations already? So I assume it's going to be a hit.
Fuzz Martin 5:58
Yeah, you've had good response so far. Yes, yes. All right. Perfect. Beyond the charities, are there any other local organizations or businesses that are supporting or sponsoring, we always
Lori Yahr 6:08
Have great sponsors. We have the Rotary Clubs are sponsoring Oh, just shoot, I don't have my list in front of me. But we have about and they will, they will be listed at the parks. But we do have a good list of sponsors. All right.
Fuzz Martin 6:19
We always appreciate our local organizations and businesses helping out charity events like this as well, for sure. So I will post the link on the show notes for this episode. There's a run signup.com page to get signed up for this event. On that page. Your you also say you're looking for volunteers. How can people help out during the Reindeer Run
Lori Yahr 6:38
That's really up to the running company. They are the ones that are looking for the volunteers, they said we're pretty much hands off, they run the whole thing, which is great for us. Yeah. So yeah. So you go to to Silver Circle Running Company, or your link to be able to sign up to volunteer.
Fuzz Martin 6:52
All right, very good. So let's talk about Enchantment in the Park for a moment. So for those who are unfamiliar with Enchantment in the Park, can you give a high level overview of of what that is sure
Lori Yahr 7:02
What it is, it's a about a mile road a little bit over a mile with over a million lights. And we've again, we've added more this year that goes through Regner Park and starts on Silverbrook Drive the drive thru, you drive all the way through it. And we have an era theme. So it starts in the in the Nativity and then the 1900s. And then all the way through the 1940s. And it seems like people really liked that because it kind of brings back old time memories for especially for elderly people. Sure, they like to drive through and they just kind of remember things you know, so that's good. And then when we get into the 1960s 70s, then it really lightens up and it becomes you know, the big snow globes and all that kind of stuff. So it's a route through time a little bit, okay, but we do have a bazillion lights. And what's really unique about our our event is that it's all volunteer based, we have about just this in the last two weekends, we've had over 600 volunteers out at the park each work in about three or four hours. So that's about 2,600 volunteer hours. And the park is put up now but now we have to all put the light and sound and all the nitty gritty of it that comes next. Yeah, so
Fuzz Martin 8:05
it takes about a good month, I guess or a little bit a
Lori Yahr 8:09
Little bit over a month to get all the light and sound and making sure everything goes bad. And then we have electricians that help us we have engineers that help us some it is a big event. So it's really nice. It's nice that we have that support, because everybody that comes down seems to enjoy it the coaches for the teams that we have a dance team so we have some teams we have you know, you name it, we have basketball team, we have everybody and the coach is absolutely love it because it's not selling pizzas. The kids are all out there together doing community service. And they just said it's a very good team building opportunity for them. So they really appreciate the opportunity.
Fuzz Martin 8:42
Great. Yeah. And that's, it's great that you can get so many different charities involved in in helping out and those kids get to experience what it's like to volunteer and help other clubs and such. Aside from the lights, you also have a number of different events like I know Santa comes every so often, right?
Lori Yahr 8:58
Santa is there just about every weekend. That is awesome. Then we have the Casa Guadalupe, they run our concessions, and they reap the benefits of that. So they appreciate every every hot chocolate that's purchased. Yeah, so they benefit from that. And we really try to pass the proceeds around, we do give out about $50,000 every year to all the different volunteer groups that come out, as they have to set up and they have to take down the area. So you know, December 26 comes around and those kids are back out in the cold taken the area down. And then we also give away between 30 and $40,000 a year to different nonprofits that need help in and around West Bend. So um, so we we make a lot of profit, and we give it all away. We don't want to keep it
Fuzz Martin 9:38
So on that when you drive through what what is the donation that you
Lori Yahr 9:43
The suggested donation is $10. And another big part of our event is we raise food for the food pantries in Washington County. So if you don't want to give the $10 you can give up and we'd really stress a big bag of food you know, and also make sure it's not expired. Sure. So the end the food pantry is there. Every night collecting the food and they filled their pantry with with the enchantment food
Again that starts the day after Thanksgiving right and runs through Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve Christmas Eve is just a drive thru. Okay none of the buildings are open Santos doing his thing. So if you're planning on Christmas Eve it is just a drive thru.
Again that's Enchantment in the Park. You can find more about that. And enchantmentpark.org and the Reindeer Run, which is on Saturday, September and December 9, yes, Saturday, December 9. And again, you can sign up at runsignup.com. I'll post the link in here and I'm sure that'll be up on the enchantment in the park website here as well. Lori, I hope you have an awesome year at Enchantment in the Park and good luck with the first ever Reindeer Run.
Thank you. Thank you. I'm sure it's gonna be great. And we'll talk to you again soon. All right, thank you.
Thank you again to Lori Yahr of West Bend's Friends of Parks and Recreation for joining me on this week's episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. Again the Reindeer Run is coming to Regner Park in West Bend on Saturday December 9. The link to the signup is in the show notes for this here episode, just click on the description and you can click on the link from there. And again Enchantment in the Park runs November 24 through December 24, 2023. And you can learn more about that at enchantment park.org If you ever have an idea for the show, hit me up email@example.com That is fifteen spelled out with fuzz @gmail.com or go to fuzz.cc/guest that is fuzz..cc/guest. New episodes drop on Tuesdays. Smash that follow button. And I'll talk to you again next week right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.