EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — What are typically slow nights at the East Peoria Festival of Lights Winter Wonderland drive-thru are now turning into some of the busiest.
“There’s just not as much entertainment or things to do. So we’ve seen larger than normal numbers. We kind of expected it a little bit, but not as much as its been,” said Doug McCarty, director of tourism and special events for the City of East Peoria.
But for people who live near the drive thru, there’s a different kind of christmas light fight happening in town.
“This year’s been horrible. It’s been almost every night,” said neighbor Jessica Smallberger.
Smallberger said neighbors are fighting traffic and that it’s backed up for hours.
“There’s people, plenty of people that live on Springfield Road and the side streets that can’t get home at night that want to just go home,” said Smallberger.
McCarty said, this year, it’s even busy on Monday nights.
“It’s typically 300 to maybe 400 on a good night on a Monday and this past Monday was around 900,” said McCarty.
Smallberger says the most frustrating thing is people aren’t being considerate.
“A lot of people aren’t listening or reading the signs, or they’re reading it and they just don’t care,” said Smallberger.
Fon du Lac Park District Police Chief Mike Johnson said officers are out directing cars, but that everyone needs to be respectful.
“When you see somebody coming up and passing the cars, don’t think that they’re trying to cut in the line, they’re just trying to get home,” said Johnson.
With Christmas a week away, McCarty said you can expect to see more officers out.
“Traffic has been busier than normal. We’ve put some additional officers on to add traffic, and we’ll continue to add more as we need to,” said McCarty.
He said they’re doing the best they can to manage the Christmas crowd.
The Winter Wonderland drive-thru is open through January 3. It is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. McCarty said if people can wait until after Christmas to see it, there may be less traffic after the holiday rush.
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