Naper Lights returns for the holidays in downtown Naperville

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The Rotary Club of Naperville-Sunrise’s Naper Lights are up and running in downtown Naperville for the holiday season.

NCTV17 spoke with Geoff Roehll from The Rotary Club of Naperville-Sunrise about the colorful light fixtures, seasonal tunes, and upcoming visits from Santa.

Holiday lights in 3D

The display includes 250,000 lights along Water Street and the south side of the Riverwalk. It features several giant holiday figures, such as skating polar bears, snowmen, and dancing trees.

The lights are accompanied by holiday music, which plays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Local Rotary volunteers will hand out 3D holographic glasses on the weekends to help make the lights pop even more.

“They’re really cool,” said Roehll. “It’s one of those things I think the parents like them as much as the kids do, and they’re free to the public.”

The lights will be aglow from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day through Jan. 1, 2024.

Volunteers help light up the community

Roehll said it took a team effort to get all the lights up for the holidays.

“The City of Naperville was very helpful in making sure that we’ve got power everywhere,” said Roehll. “But the biggest thing is, we set up a day where we invite volunteers from the community, our own club, and other Rotary clubs to join us for a one-day event. We had about 70 volunteers show up this year.”

Since 2013, the lights have been a staple in Naperville. They were first strung in Central Park, then moved to Naper Settlement, and eventually arrived along Water Street in 2019.

“We were looking for another event in the fall and winter, and we came up with the idea of doing this community, family-friendly display,” said Roehll. “We wanted it to be free to the public, we didn’t want to make any money on it.”

Santa visits Naperville Jaycees Park

During Naper Lights, families can meet and take pictures with Santa on certain days in his glittering chair under the 40-foot Great Tree in Jaycees Park. Saint Nick will be in Naperville from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 23.

Next to Santa’s chair is a giant Christmas bear, which provides another photo opportunity.

11 years of holiday lights in Naperville 

Roehll has been involved with Naper Lights since the beginning and says it’s the community reaction that keeps him coming back.

“It’s so satisfying,” said Roehll. “People say ‘Why do you do it?’ but I come out here and hand out some of these 3D glasses to the kids, and you see their face light up as they look at the tree.”

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