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Coonskin's Holiday Lights opening delayed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The opening of Coonskin Park's annual Holiday Lights display has been postponed until Dec. 1.

Members of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission voted Wednesday to put off the opening of the display because of delays in installing the lights.

The Holiday Lights display usually opens the day after Thanksgiving, but parks director Jeff Hutchinson told parks board members that work crews are behind in putting the lights up.

Hutchinson said parks employees dropped everything after superstorm Sandy hit so they could get the park ready to host the state high school soccer championship. The championship originally was scheduled to be held in Beckley, but organizers were forced to find an alternate site for the games because of heavy snowfall at the original location. Coonskin hosted the championship on Nov. 6 and 7.

Hutchinson also said work crews can't put up lights in certain areas of Coonskin Park until tree-removal crews finish removing trees felled by June's derecho storm and its aftermath. Parks crews also have been tied up with their own cleanup work in the wake of Sandy.

Hutchinson also pointed out that Thanksgiving, on Nov. 22, falls a week early this year. He said putting off opening the lights display until Dec. 1 will give parks work crews time to install the full array of lights.

The light show will open at dusk Dec. 1 and run until 10 p.m. every night through Dec. 31. The displays will be open Dec. 24 and 25.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted to help support the park system. For more information, call 304-341-8000.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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