Posted on Tuesday October 27, 2020 by Vanessa Lenz

Control the lights. Watch the show. Make the magic!

This December, East Troy will launch East Troy Lights – a community-built interactive light show, with help from a $19,225 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

    The light display is scheduled to kick off Dec. 5, 2020 in conjunction with the 112-year-old- East Troy Electric Railroad Santa Parade Train and East Troy’s annual Christmas Tree lighting and run through Dec. 31.

    “East Troy Lights shows how a community can creatively attract new visitors during the winter,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney. “We’re happy to support the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce in their efforts to give people a unique experience in beautiful, historic downtown East Troy this holiday season.”

    The foundation of East Troy Lights is collaboration. Several area businesses and organizations, along with volunteers and donors, are working together to create this unique event to draw visitors to the area when it is safe to do so.

    The event is estimated to draw more than 15,000 local, day-trip and overnight visitors and upwards of $700,000 in spending. Grant funds will be used toward radio, digital, print advertising and public relations to create awareness and draw visitors.

    “We’re thrilled for the opportunity the JEM grant provides,” said Vanessa Lenz, Executive Director, East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce. “East Troy Lights will draw visitors from throughout Walworth County and beyond. The lighting technology allows people to use their phones and participate in the light show itself. The event will offer a great boost for our community and our businesses as we close out what has been a challenging year.” 

    In fiscal year 2020, the Department funded 52 JEM projects, awarding $1,154,904 million statewide, with estimated visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects at $206 million.

    Tourism is an important pillar of Wisconsin’s economy and the industry saw its biggest year in at least a decade in 2019. Over 113.2 million visits statewide generated an estimated $22.2 billion, including $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue. 

    Visitor spending in Walworth County alone increased to $584.5 million supporting more than 7,000 jobs, creating $69.4 million in state and local taxes and generating a total impact of $784.9 million in sales for businesses in the county

The lowdown

    East Troy Lights is an interactive holiday light show taking place throughout the month of December with help from a $19,225 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

    Not only can you watch the shows - on the hour, every hour - but, with the help of a mobile phone, you’ll be able to try your hand at making your own light show.

    Oh, and we also have a Light Show Simulator for kids (or adults) to try making their own light show scripts for the East Troy Square.

    Although the show begins Dec. 5, you can get involved now! We need your help. Your time. Your energy. Your donations. Your hands. Your eyes ... to help design, hang & build decorations/displays. See below for more ways you can get involved.

            Get info at

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