Despite dismal weather and a shortened season, Christmas Magic - A Festival of Lights at Rocky Ridge County Park reached new heights last weekend.
A single-day attendance record was set Saturday when 3,900 people made the trek to the park, said Jeri Jones, program coordinator for York County Parks.
That turnout coincided with record high temperatures in southcentral Pennsylvania.
"Most people were out in short sleeves," Jones said.
And 8,170 people went to the display over the weekend, the second highest number of people to attend the event in a single weekend since it was launched in 1984 , he said.
"Cars were coming in as fast as (other cars) were leaving," Jones said.
The previous single-day record of 3,822 was set last year.
Weather issues: But just as nice weather brought large turnouts, inclement weather earlier in December wreaked havoc on the display and created extra work for its staff.
As three winter storms hit the county earlier this month, work crews not only had to clear snow from walking trails and the parking lot of the 3699 Deininger Road park in Springettsbury Township, they were also tasked with turning lights back on after water triggered ground fault interrupters.
One storm left trees caked in ice, and as the temperature increased, the ice melted, sending water onto the lights.
"It was like a rain storm up there," Jones said. "It was a trying time for our staff."
When the interrupters turned off the lights, it meant the display was closed.
During one span, the display was offline six out of 10 days, Jones said.
The interrupters, he added, are a safety measure to ensure no one is electrocuted by the lights when they get wet.
Keeps going: Though Christmas is over, the display will remain open through the end of the year.
It features nearly 600,000 lights, holiday scenes and entertainment on a half-mile walking trail and five enclosed heated pavilions. This year, the trail will consist of 95 percent LED lights to save more energy than the mini lights that had been used since 2006.
So far, more than 23,000 people made their way through the display.
"That's pretty good for a shortened season." Jones said.
Jones said attendance likely won't reach the 40,000 mark -- about the number of people who attended the event last year -- but he's hoping for a good turnout as it winds down.
"If we keep the weather on our side, we could end up with some good numbers," he said.
If you go:
Christmas Magic - A Festival of Lights at Rocky Ridge County Park, 3699 Deininger Road, York runs nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31.
Tickets: $6-$8. Children under 4 free.
For more information, call (717) 840-7443, or go to www.yorkcountyparks.org.
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.