Volunteers begin Rotary Lights cleanup

It’s been just over a month since the Rotary Lights lit up Riverside Park for the season.

But the lights are officially switched off as volunteers get ready for another cleanup.

The unique display of lights has caught the attention of more than just those who are living in La Crosse.

“We had people here from Beaver Dam, a week before that from Milwaukee,” said Pat Stephens, Rotary Lights president.

But it is said what goes up must come down and the lights are no exception.

Stephens says it’s La Crosse’s community effort that makes all the difference.

“There is a great core of people that work on year round that make it all possible and then the non-profit groups help with all of the people power we need to get it up and take it down,” he said.

Timothy Pierce from the Knights of Columbus organization has been helping with Rotary Lights since it existed and says he’s not planning to stop anytime soon.

“The legacy kind of lives on of us coming out here and doing this and we’ll probably do it until Pat tells us we are not going to do it anymore,” Pierce said.

Stephens says although there’s no denying it takes a lot of work to dissemble the lights, the tradition will continue to live on.

“With the participation that we have, the activity we have, they’re very generous with the financial support that we need and so many food collections and stuff that take place out of the park under the Rotary Lights umbrella as well, we’re just getting started and we can hardly wait until the 23rd year.”

About 100 volunteers helped take down the 3 million lights.