Millions of colorful bulbs have transformed Countryside Park in Washington Twp. into a holiday wonderland for 25 seasons.

How ‘Christmas Fairyland’ got its start 26 years ago

Millions of colorful lights have transformed Countryside Park in Washington Twp. into a holiday wonderland for more than 25 years.

This will be its 26th season.

The Woodland Lights holiday tradition began in 1993. Frank LaGiusa, a nationally known lighting consultant who designed the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., for 17 years, was hired to help transform the park. 

>> What you need to know before you head to Woodland Lights this season

Millions of colorful bulbs have transformed Countryside Park in Washington Twp. into a holiday wonderland for 25 seasons.
Photo: HANDOUT

More than 160 community members from 14 different organizations volunteered to help make the inaugural lighting event a success and dozens of businesses made donations. 

>> ULTIMATE guide to the best Christmas lights around Dayton and Cincinnati

Visitors were dazzled by the sparkling reflections as they wandered by the pond and the illuminated woodland creatures. Christmas carolers kept spirits high, and children visited with Santa inside a historic log cabin.

Woodland Lights comes to Countryside Park during the holiday season.
Photo: submitted/submitted

More than 11,000 visitors, who also contributed canned goods for an emergency food bank, went through the park during the three weeks it was open. 

Days after the event ended the Dayton Daily News reported the township had received a letter, written on Christmas stationery, with two woodland geese at the top, and addressed "to those who represent Washington Township." 

The letter was written by Dorothy Stolz, the wife of the late Tom Stolz, a Washington Twp. philanthropist who donated the land and his landscaping talent to increase parklands in Washington Twp. 

>> Our favorite Dayton holiday traditions

Woodland Lights opens its 25th season with a fantasyland of lights and animated holiday lighting displays along a half-mile wooded path in Countryside Park. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News
Photo: JIM NOELKER

"I would like to thank all of you for the kindness you've given us this year and for carrying on a goal of Tom's in a way he probably didn't even know of. The building and land at 845 (Miamisburg-Centerville Road) were the beginning of our marriage and the lives of our children. So many fond memories are attached to the land you have chosen to make into a Christmas fairyland. It is a tremendous idea and a wonderful community tradition!"

>> PHOTOS: 11 photos of Woodland Lights that prove it’s one of the area’s best holiday traditions

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