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31
March 2017

OUTDOOR BITS: MORE OF OUR FAVORITE PLACES, EVEN IN WISCONSIN

Rice Park: Holiday Lights, The Winter Carnival

Logo_bethelbits_HudallaThe night of the Winter Carnival, Rice Park ran rampant with all the things I hate.

Let it be known that I was bullied by cunning smiles and convincing arguments from my extroverted roommates to attend the kick off of the Winter Carnival. Nevertheless, I followed them into an overwhelmingly large crowd, full of families and college students, looking for cheap entertainment.

While making a beeline for the stage, I stopped to make sure I had my wallet. A fatal mistake. When I found it, I looked up and realized I lost my friends.

20170210_holmberg_mugshots_lawless_12The smell of vomit which was probably the product of a kid stuffing her face with too much sugar lingered in air, mixing with the tang of buttery popcorn. Plugging my nose, I elbowed my way through the thick crowd, searching for my friends, growing more irritated by the second. At the same time, a woman made her way to the stage, thanking everyone for coming out on such a cold night and put her hand on top of the oversized light switch– which was more of a theatrical prop than anything-before starting the countdown. As the crowd chanted the final few numbers, I found my friends, huddled together, giddy with anticipation. I reached the group just as the lights flickered.

Dozens of ghostly trees were draped with sparkling white lights with the exception of a single solitary Christmas tree doused in blue. Fireworks exploded behind the glittering trees in a dazzling display that made me forget about the prickling cold and getting lost in the crowd.

I felt enchanted and a bit dazzled as I hugged my roommate, her icy cheek pressed against mine. She smiled and we swayed as the speakers blasted “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

I would walk through puke-infested sidewalks and risk getting lost to see the mesmerizing display again.

 

–Kellie Lawless

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