Now in its 19th year, Bentleyville, the nation’s largest walk-through Christmas light display, once again lights up Bayfront Park on the Lake Superior shoreline in Duluth with five million lights. The 128-foot Christmas tree made by Iron Workers Local 512 glistens in the evening sky next to Duluth Harbor at the center of the festival. “It’s truly the centerpiece not only of Bentleyville but of the city of Duluth,” said Nathan Bentley, founder of Bentleyville.
According to Brian Nelson, Region B Apprentice Coordinator, the tree is built in three sections at the training facility in Hermantown. It’s then trucked down to Bayfront Festival Park and assembled over the course of two days in October. “We usually have a crew of 15 iron workers, an operator running the crane, and we all volunteer,” Nelson explained.
One addition to Bentleyville this year is the expanded gift shop. The previous one was 800 square feet. The new one constructed by the iron workers and the carpenters local has 4,000 square feet. “All the unions mean very, very much to Bentleyville. Their great partnership has made Bentleyville what it is today with their community support,” Bentley said.
“It’s amazing to be a mayor of a community where we have this kind of support for a beautiful free event for hundreds of thousands of families,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said. “Duluth has 86,000 residents. Over the course of the Bentleyville season we’ll have 200,000-300,000 people come through here. It’s incredible.”
Bentleyville runs in the evening seven days a week through Dec. 26. For more information, check the Bentleyville web site.