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Spread the word: White River Wonderland returns Nov. 24

Image via Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce / Photo credit: Storyteller Images

Each winter, the light display that earned Batesville recognition as the Christmas Capital of Arkansas takes over Riverside Park for locals and visitors to experience a magical holiday season on the White River.

The City of Batesville and the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced White River Wonderland will be opening its 2021 display on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m. The lights display will be on daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. The final chance to see the Lights will be on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022.

The show features millions of lights and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Admission to White River Wonderland is free; donations are accepted.

Visitors, again, will have numerous options for viewing the lights. 

“You can walk through, or you can drive through the display, or you can catch a horse-drawn carriage, train, or Ferris wheel ride. That’s what makes us different,” said Johnathan Abbott, City of Batesville Landscape Supervisor. “Most of the other displays in the state are either drive-thru or walk-thru, and we are a little bit of everything.”

Watch the show from the warmth of your car as you listen to your favorite Christmas tunes on White River Wonderland’s radio station. The entire display is also walkable, with illuminated sidewalks and walking trails. A fully-lit walking trail leads visitors to the light show from the overflow parking lot at the Batesville Community Center.

Visitors may also take a ride through the display in one of the White River Wonderland’s horse-drawn carriages. Carriage rides will run from Nov. 26 through Dec. 30, except Dec. 25. Carriage rides are $8 per person ages two and up.

The custom-built White River Express will make its return this year. Train rides will run from Nov. 26 through Dec. 30, except Dec. 25. Train rides are $5 per person ages two and up.

This winter, a family favorite, the synthetic-surfaced Ice Skating rink will also return to the Riverside Park amphitheater. The Ice Skating rink will be open from Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, 2022. The rink will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25. Ice skating is $5 for 1 hour; skates provided.

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce is bringing back the 70-foot LED Ferris Wheel for a limited time. In its 2020 sell-out debut, over 5,000 riders enjoyed the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris wheel is $5 per rider, regardless of age. The Ferris Wheel will operate from Dec. 10 through 18. Tickets for the Ferris Wheel will be available for pre-order online on Nov. 15.

And for the first time, Santa Claus will make the trip to the Christmas Capital of Arkansas for the White River Wonderland lights display. Each weekend, visitors will be able to take Selfies with Santa. Visitors will get to spend 3 minutes with Santa for $1. 

“We think this year is going to be the best lights display yet,” continued Abbott. “We think families will build life-long memories with a trip to Batesville’s White River Wonderland.”

Learn more about the Christmas Capital of Arkansas at or on the White River Wonderland Facebook page.

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Get up-to-date local and regional news/weather every weekday morning and afternoon from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5


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