The Pack Report

Bentleyville in Duluth, Minnesota: Illuminating the Spirit of Holiday Magic

Nestled along the shores of Lake Superior, the enchanting city of Duluth, Minnesota, is home to a truly magical holiday tradition known as Bentleyville. This captivating event, often dubbed the “largest free walk-through lighting display in America,” draws visitors from far and wide to experience the joy and wonder of the holiday season. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the history and creation of Bentleyville, exploring the origins of this remarkable celebration that has become a cherished part of Duluth’s identity.

The Birth of Bentleyville:

Bentleyville traces its roots back to 2001 when Nathan Bentley, a native of Esko, a small town near Duluth, began decorating his home with an impressive assortment of holiday lights. Over the years, his passion for spreading joy through festive illumination grew, and his holiday display expanded proportionately. Nathan’s vision quickly outgrew his residential property, prompting him to search for a larger venue that could accommodate his ever-growing exhibit.

Expansion and Community Collaboration:

In 2008, the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth became the new home for Bentleyville. This transition allowed the event to flourish by providing ample space for an array of enchanting displays and attractions. To bring his vision to life, Nathan Bentley collaborated with countless volunteers, businesses, and organizations within the Duluth community.

Bentleyville’s Signature Attractions:

The heart of Bentleyville lies in its captivating light displays. Featuring over five million lights, Bentleyville creates a mesmerizing wonderland that sparks the imagination and warms the hearts of all who visit. Visitors stroll along winding pathways, immersing themselves in an immersive experience of dazzling colors, intricately designed Christmas trees, and life-sized holiday characters.

Beyond the lights, Bentleyville offers a plethora of festive activities for all ages. The young and young at heart can enjoy meeting Santa Claus himself, roasting marshmallows over warm fire pits, indulging in hot cocoa, and delighting in the delightful sounds of carolers. With a skating rink, a giant slide, and a synchronized light and music show, Bentleyville truly offers something for everyone.

Community Spirit and Philanthropy:

Bentleyville is more than just a holiday spectacle; it also embodies the spirit of giving and community. From its inception, the event has strived to spread holiday cheer while giving back to the community. Admission to Bentleyville is free of charge, thanks to the generous support of local sponsors and donors. Visitors are encouraged to make voluntary donations or contribute non-perishable food items, which are collected for local food banks.

The Positive Impact of Bentleyville:

Over the years, Bentleyville has had a profound impact on the Duluth community. It has become a beloved annual tradition, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, both locals and tourists alike. The event provides a significant boost to the local economy, with many visitors choosing to stay in Duluth hotels, dine at local restaurants, and explore the city’s other attractions. Bentleyville has also garnered national attention, putting Duluth on the map as a premier holiday destination.

Bentleyville in Duluth, Minnesota, stands as a testament to the power of one person’s vision and the collective spirit of a community. What started as a small-scale residential holiday display has blossomed into a remarkable event that captures the magic and joy of the holiday season. Through its dazzling lights, interactive activities, and commitment to philanthropy, Bentleyville has become a cherished tradition that brings people together, creating unforgettable memories and fostering a sense of community spirit. Suppose you find yourself in Duluth during the holiday season. In that case, a visit to Bentleyville is an absolute must, offering an experience that will warm your heart and ignite the holiday spirit within you.

Happy Adventuring, friends!

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Tucker Olson @tuckolson