The 24th annual light show raised approximately $160,000 between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. That estimated net total means that 2017 was the event's second-best year financially. Only the 2009 show raised more ($160, 845).
Easterseals also estimates that the proceeds will help to underwrite as many as 3,333 therapy sessions for local children and adults with disabilities who couldn't otherwise afford those services.
This year's total included $18,076.29 in extra donations from Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights visitors, above and beyond admission fees. That was the largest amount of extra donations received in a single year at the event. Throughout the 40-night event, volunteers also reported that many visitors "paid it forward" this year by covering admission costs for the car behind them, creating a heartwarming chain of generosity.
A total of 12,570 vehicles (including horse-drawn carriages) drove through this year’s display.
This year's show was held in loving memory of Andy Guagenti (1927-2017), co-owner of G.D. Ritzy's, advocate for individuals with disabilities, and founder of Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights. In the 24 years of the event, net proceeds have now reached approximately $3,300,581 to underwrite therapy services at the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center.
The 25th annual Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights is already being planned. It will open on Thanksgiving night and will run through New Year's Day.
Major sponsors of Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights were Ritzy's, IBEW Local 16, NECA, Teamsters Local 215, Electrical JATC, WEHT Local, Local 7 WTVW, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, 104.1 FM-WIKY, and 93.5 DUKE FM. Nightly security was donated by Security Enforcement, a division of Comaier Services.
Last updated: January 15, 2018