Elmo, a dinosaur and the Abominable Snowman all arrived this weekend at Cascade Park.

Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the park’s sixth annual Cascade of Lights.

“We always get a lot of compliments on the display,” New Castle public works director Michael Rooney said.

This year’s display features more than three dozen, free-standing holiday light novelties, ranging from snowflakes to light-up cars. The displays line the blacktop road around the park’s namesake waterfalls.

Jason DiMuccio, director of New Castle’s parks and recreation department, estimated that 75 to 80 carloads of people have visited the park each day since Thanksgiving.

“We take the money we make each year and put it into new decorations for the following year,” DiMuccio explained.

The new additions this season are a snowman who blows cold air onto a Christmas tree — which can be seen as cars enter the park — and an elf who washes a reindeer in preparation for his Christmas Eve flight.

Anthony Mangino is one of the state constables providing security for Cascade of Lights.

“The public works guys who put this up did such a good job,” Mangino said. “People really do appreciate it.”

Among those people were the Michael D’Andrea family of Shenango Township, who piled into the car last night to take in some holiday cheer.

“We promised the dog we’d come,” joked Stephanie D’Andrea, as the family dog, Scooter, wagged his tail excitedly in the back seat with Caprice, 15, and Dante, 6.

The D’Andreas have driven through the twinkling display every winter, and enjoy the growing collection of lights. Dante claims the dinosaur as his favorite.

“It’s cheaper and closer than Oglebay, and it’s something to do in town,” Stephanie added.

Another visitor, 18-year-old Ronald Nocera of Shenango Township, agreed.

“New Castle can be a dull town for people under 21, so it’s nice to have something to see here around Christmas,” Nocera said.

The display will continue each of the next three weekends. Rooney, DiMuccio and Mangino all hope that the warm weather continues throughout the display’s run.

“They’re in heated cars. We’re here collecting the money,” Rooney laughed.

Their hard, potentially freezing, work will go to a good cause.

All proceeds that were collected at the gate on Thanksgiving Day will be donated to the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Christmas Day proceeds also will benefit the fund.



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