Bentleyville begins set up, asking for volunteers

Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 3:36 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Fall may have just officially started but Christmas season is in full swing in the Northland.

Bentleyville has begun asking for volunteers to help set up the spectacle in Bayfront.

“I’m so excited,” said Josilyn Nikko, a third-year volunteer. “Easily the best season of the year. I started listening to Christmas music in July. I am just getting prepared and so excited.”

Even this weekend’s rainy weather could not stop her from coming out to help.

“I have a cold and I feel like it’s just going to get worse but I feel like it makes it all more fun,” said Nikko. “It has been rainy every single year that I’ve come here.”

Although volunteering has just started, preparation began months ago, according to Bentleyville organizers.

“Bentleyville never stops,” said Nathan Bentley, Bentleyville Founder and Executive Director. “The lights may go off at the end of December, but the next day we are tearing everything down and by January we’re planning for the next year and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last nine and a half months.”

This year the 21-acre, 1 million lights display required even more planning than usual.

“We have literally planned every single weekday there’s a special event going on down here everything from live reindeer, our fireworks during the weekdays, we have concerts, we have special events every single weekday for our 20th anniversary,” said Bentley.

Since Bentleyville is free, everyone can be part of this special year but volunteering makes it just a little more magical.

“Right now it doesn’t look like much of anything,” said Nikko. “But when I walk through in December, it’s like I put that right there. Like look at me go I was a little a little part of this big thing and it’s just really nice to know.”

Bentleyville begins at Bayfront on November 18 but until then, they are looking for volunteers every single weekend from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

Free breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.

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