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Record Year for Christmas at Panther Creek

The final collection for ‘Christmas at Panther Creek’ totaled nearly $50,000 in a record year for the holiday light display.

“We’ve wrapped up our five-week season collecting $49,308.01, which recognizes just shy of 10,000 cars,” said Ross Leigh, Director of Parks & Recreation.

“If you figure even three people per car, that’s one-third of Daviess County’s population that passed through Panther Creek Park to enjoy this beautiful display,” he added.

Launched in 2003, ‘Christmas at Panther Creek’ consists of a 1.15-mile lighted driving tour with more than 50 displays and 700,000 lights.

The event begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving and continues throughout the holiday season encompassing Christmas and New Year’s.  Admission is $5 per vehicle.

“For families, ‘Christmas at Panther Creek’ is a time-honored tradition, providing a safe and affordable outing during the pandemic with an opportunity to support local non-profits,” said Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.

Five agencies will benefit from the 2020 display, including the Owensboro Lions Club, The Arc of Owensboro Inc./Opportunity Center, Joe Ford Nature Center, New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services, and Stanley Playground Association.

Each organization will receive approximately $5,000, or collectively half of the total event proceeds.  The remaining funds will be reinvested back into the park to expand the light display.

“We are in the process of trying to engineer a new lighted tunnel with arches,” Leigh said.  “We look forward to introducing that to the community this next December.”

“I want to thank Steve Wilkerson and the rest of the park staff who work tirelessly, starting in late September, establishing displays and relighting them,” he added.  “It really makes the park come to life for those five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.”

Independence Bank received nearly 200 completed entries for the “Indy The Eagle Holiday Scavenger Hunt,” a new activity for the 2020 season. Amelia Smith received the prize – an Apple iPad Air – following a random drawing at the bank on Monday, January 4th.

The Fiscal Court would also like to thank Owensboro Health for sponsoring the Free Community Night on Thursday, December 10th.

For more information about Daviess County Parks & Recreation, visit or call 270-685-6142.

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