The Bentleyville Tour of Lights

The Bentleyville Tour of Lights should be a winter tradition for everyone! What better way to get into the holiday spirit than strolling through America’s largest, free, walk-through lighting display?
Bentleyville, in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, features more than 4 million lights across 20-acres off the shores of Lake Superior.
Enter by way of the majestic Bentleyville Castle door and follow the holiday music floating through the air.
Hot chocolate and cookie from Bentleyville’s Cookie House in hand, you can find your way through lighted tunnels simulating those that run I-35 underneath city parks.
The pathways take you through different districts of Bentleyville-Duluth including the municipal golf courses, the aerial lift bridge, Enger Park, the Tall Ships festival, and Lester Park.
There are so many displays including Nativity, Support our Troops, First Responders, Vikings, Dinosaur Land, Rudolph’s Campgrounds, 12 Days of Christmas, Gingerbread Man, Frosty Fairways, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Island of Misfit Toys and my personal favorite, TWO Paul Bunyan and Babe tributes!
The magnum opus of Bentleyville is the animated 12-story steel Christmas tree and ball which is covered with over 150,000 sparkling LED lights.
Adorned with an illuminated #OnlyInMN sign, the tree rises to more than twice the height of New York City’s famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree!
How did it come to be, you may ask?
Nathan Bentley first decorated his home with lights in Esko, Minnesota in 2001.
He added more and more eventually Bentley’s house was known as “the house with all of the lights in Esko.”
One of Bentley’s friends eventually started referring to his house as Bentleyville (a play on words from Dr. Seuss’s “Whoville.”).
In 2004, the Bentley’s moved from Esko to Cloquet, Minnesota.
“Bentleyville” grew very quickly and within a few years, outgrew the Bentley home.
In the fall of 2008, the Duluth City Mayor asked Bentley if he would bring Bentleyville to Bayfront Park.
It opened in 2009 to over 150,000 visitors and has gained immense popularity every since.
The Tour of Lights runs from November 18 to December 26, 2017.
It is also the official drop-off location for new unwrapped toys and nonperishable food items for the Duluth Salvation Army.
If you are headed there, bring your donations, dress warm, and don’t forget your camera!

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