MARION -- Mike Pinto gets fired up for the holidays. The Southern Illinois Miners field manager and Chief Operations Officer is especially looking forward to hosting the Second Annual Winter Wonderland at Rent One Park.
The festivities get underway this Friday night (Dec. 8) at 6 and will run through 10 p.m. On Saturday, hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-8 p.m.
"We are excited to bring an even better Winter Wonderland lineup to Marion this year," Pinto said. "The positive feedback from everyone who attended last year inspired us to see if we could top ourselves. And I hope we have."
Pinto said activities include carriage rides ($3 per rider), ice skating ($5, including skate rental), a 31-foot-high Giant Snowzilla Jr. slide ($3), a challenging snow maze ($3), Glow-In-The-Dark mini golf ($2 per golfer), snowball fights, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (FREE)!
Fans can purchase an All-Access wristband, which gives access to all activities, except carriage rides, for $14 on Friday night (a savings of $2) and $12 on Saturday (a savings of $3). Like last year, fans can enjoy activity tables and games, and fans can also send holiday letters to soldiers and veterans of the military.
Pinto said one new twist this year is the addition of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) houses along the concourse at the ballpark. Carterville and Johnston City High School shop classes have built log cabins. Crab Orchard High School has crafted a John Deere tractor home. Carbondale High School has constructed an RV-style home. Herrin High School has built a supersized cabin, complete with front porch and chimney and Marion High School has made a Santa house.
Nannette Evans, director for CASA of Williamson County, said raffle tickets for the houses range from $2 for one ticket to a dozen for $20. It's the largest fundraiser for the organization each year.
"Counting sponsorships and ticket sales, we generally make $23,000 to $24,000," Evans said. "And if you can't make it out to Winter Wonderland to see the houses in person, you can go online and purchase tickets at casawilliamsoncounty.com."
This year's Winter Wonderland extravaganza is sponsored by Aisin Manufacturing.
Holiday treats, drinks and concession favorites will also be available for purchase.
More details are available on the Miners' Facebook page and website.
"Aisin is proud to sponsor Winter Wonderland with the Southern Illinois Miners," Aisin spokesperson Glenn Edwards said. "It will be a great community event and a fun, festive way to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends."