Winter Wonderland

1998 Winter Wonderland

Randy Lubbe Shawnee County Parks and Rec checks Santa on TV light bulbs at Winter Wonderland First year

The inaugural Winter Wonderland kicked off with the help of community sponsors and our new partnership with Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

Opening Winter Wonderland at the Lake Shawnee Campground, we featured 10 rented displays including our famous tunnels!

Thousands of visitors enjoyed the lights at Lake Shawnee Campground, we knew we had to continue the community event!

1999 Winter Wonderland

Car driving through a tunnel in the second year of TARC's Winter Wonderland The second year of Winter Wonderland we continued to lease displays – some of the displays we still have today!

Thousands of people from the community and surrounding areas visited Winter Wonderland helping to raise funds to benefit TARC programming!

2000 Winter Wonderland

In 2000, we continued to partner with Shawnee County Parks & Rec. and again, leased all the displays for Winter Wonderland.

2001 Winter Wonderland

Shawnee County Parks and Rec and TARC Employees, including Virginia Lockhart, wrap trees at TARC's Winter Wonderland in 2001Winter Wonderland continued to grow! We continued to add light displays to the event and were able to from a partnership with Topeka Foundry and Iron Works!

TFI is responsible for many of the displays you see and enjoy at Winter Wonderland each year!

In 2001 the crew at the Foundry created gift packages, snowflakes and stars to add to Winter Wonderland. We continued to lease displays while beginning to add permanent fixtures to Winter Wonderland!

2002 Winter Wonderland

TARC's Winter Wonderland Virginia Lockhart's Stars of Life Section Thirty-six nights raised thousands of dollars to benefit TARC and our programming! 2002 Winter Wonderland event was the first year tickets could be purchased to attend the event and 228 of the tickets purchased were redeemed that year.

Displays added:

  • 5 Star Sprays
  • Christmas Trees
  • 10 foot Candy Canes

2003 Winter Wonderland

Vehicle Drives through Winter Wonderland Tunnel photo credit: CJonlineThe 6th Winter Wonderland brought much needed funds to benefit TARC and our programming. More than 10,000 cars went through Winter Wonderland 227 of those cars redeemed tickets in the 40 nights the event ran.

Displays added:

  • TARC Express – Christmas Special Train (train)
  • TARC Sign with our 50th Anniversary Logo
  • Shawnee County Parks & Rec. Sponsor Sign
  • ACE Electric Sign
  • Original Winter Wonderland Logo Sign
  • Santa in the TV
  • All the big bears
  • Santa Taking Flight
  • Many of the elves
  • Snowflake Tunnel
  • Deer and 3D trees located in Winter Woods
  • Victorian Village

2004 Winter Wonderland

TARC's Winter Wonderland Set Up volunteers and staff at entrance setting up signs at TARC's Winter Wonderland at Lake Shawnee The 7th Winter Wonderland brought $85,070 to benefit TARC and our programming. More than 12,000 cars went through Winter Wonderland 424  of those cars redeemed tickets in the 43 nights the event ran.

Displays added:

  • Pirate Ship

2005 Winter Wonderland

TARC's Winter Wonderland Dragon or Serpent on the Water at Lake Shawnee Topeka Kansas

Winter Wonderland continued to grow – running for 45 nights with 9,275 cars attending the event! Nearly 700 of those cars had tickets to attend Winter Wonderland (692 tickets redeemed at the Winter Wonderland gate). $78,701.61 were raised to benefit TARC and our programming. 2005 was the FIRST year Razzle Dazzle Glasses made their appearance at Winter Wonderland – enhancing everyone’s experience through the lights!

Winter Wonderland also added three major attractions that helped spread holiday cheer! The Specialty nights provided fun and festivities for kids, seniors, heroes and even the KU and KSU fans!

Displays added:

  • Hanging Ball Ornaments with stars, bells, snowballs and noel.

2006 Winter Wonderland

2006 Sneak Peek Night - Ethel May Miller, Lyla Paslay and Ken Paslay TARC Topeka

2006 Sneak Peek Night – Ethel May Miller, Lyla Paslay and Ken Paslay

The 9th Winter Wonderland holds two records – the most nights (45) and the first year more than $100,000 was raised to benefit TARC and our programming. 11,182 cars went through Winter Wonderland 710 of those cars redeemed tickets.

Displays added:

  • Sponsorship signs – including KSNT 27 News!

2007 Winter Wonderland

Ann and Charles Clinkenbeard grand marshals at the Miracle on Kansas Avenue Parade TARC Topeka KansasThe 10th Annual Winter Wonderland raised $75,059 to benefit TARC programming with 7,929 cars attending the 43 night event!

The Clinkenbeards (who brought the idea of Winter Wonderland back to TARC) were the grand marshals in the 2006 Miracle on Kansas Avenue Parade!

Displays added:

  • More sponsor signs
  • Merry Christmas sign

2008 Winter Wonderland

Another record breaking fund raising year, 2008 brought TARC and our programming $120,674.98! In 41 nights that Winter Wonderland was open: 10,596 cars visited and redeemed 811 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Small Winter Wonderland Sign
  • TARC ornaments

2009 Winter Wonderland

The 2009 Winter Wonderland event brought 10,932 vehicles through the gates, generating $112,567 to benefit TARC programming!

Displays added:

  • Sponsor Signs including Fox43!
  • 8 pine trees
  • 8 foot and 4 foot deer

2010 Winter Wonderland

Sherry Lundry, TARC Development Director at Winter Wonderland Set up Topeka Kansas TARCIn 44 nights, TARC was able to raise $127,181.29 to benefit programming. 10,932 vehicles drove through the sparking lights at Lake Shawnee Campground redeeming 736 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Sponsor Signs
  • Happy New Year Sign

2011 Winter Wonderland

Another record breaking fundraising year, 2011 raised $158,965.94 in 44 nights! 11,831 vehicles drove through the gates to attend Winter Wonderland at Lake Shawnee Campground redeeming 796 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Bride &Groom
  • Snowball Family
  • Kite
  • Wagon
  • Sponsor Signs

2012 Winter Wonderland

In 2012, Winter Wonderland raised $144,350.72 in 43 nights! 11,668 vehicles drove through the gates to attend Winter Wonderland at Lake Shawnee Campground redeeming 649 tickets! 2012 we offered our very first Bus tickets – selling packs of ten to local organizations to enjoy Winter Wonderland from their buses!

Displays added:

  • Old Man Winter
  • Sponsor Signs

2013 Winter Wonderland

Topeka Foundry and Iron Works unveiling the new entrance display for TARC Winter Wonderland at Lake ShawneeIn just 35 nights, Winter Wonderland raised $151,218.01 to benefit TARC’s programs! 9,209 vehicles drove through Winter Wonderland and redeemed 747 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Toy Soldiers in their guard houses welcoming you to Winter Wonderland! (Sign at Croco and East Edge Road)
  • Sponsor signs

2014 Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland Toy Soldier Entrance at Croco Built by the Topeka Foundry and iron Works TARC TopekaA record breaking year all around! 2011 brought 11,038 cars to TARC’s Winter Wonderland redeeming 747 tickets and raising $167,582.61 to benefit TARC’s programming!

Displays added:

  • Elves
  • Penguins

2015 Winter Wonderland

12 Twelve days of Christmas Light Display at TARC Winter Wonderland Topeka Lake Shawnee CampgroundAnother record breaking year! The community turned out to support TARC and Winter Wonderland raising $174,174.37 to benefit TARC’s programming! 10,364 cars went through Winter Wonderland redeeming 791 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Twelve Days of Christmas
    • Partridge in a pear tree
    • Two turtle doves
    • Three French hens
    • Four Calling birds
    • Five golden rings
    • Six geese a-laying
    • Seven swans a-swimming
    • Eight maids a-milking
    • Nine ladies dancing
    • Ten lords a-leaping
    • Eleven pipers piping
    • Twelve drummers drumming

2016 Winter Wonderland

2016 TARC Winter Wonderland Opening Night Matt Miller KSNT News, Santa Claus and Family turned on the lights on air live Topeka TARC Lake Shawnee Camp GroundThe 19th Annual Winter Wonderland brought another year of record breaking funds to help TARC to fill the gaps in funding and provide service, support and advocacy – $191,600.70! Thirty-nine nights brought 10,679 vehicles through Winter Wonderland and they redeemed 660 tickets!

Displays added:

  • Sponsor Signs