On a recent cold and wintry evening, Tom and I picked up Mom and Dad and headed west for Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights. Last year we saw two light displays, and enjoyed them both, so we thought we would check out another light display.
Before going to see the lights, however, we stopped at Boone’s Steer Barn in Upper Sandusky for supper. Mom and Dad had been there before, but it was a new place for Tom and me. The Steer Barn believes in truth in advertising because it was, indeed, in a barn. The barn was built in 1897 and the historic barn structure is intact. The barn was purchased in 1965 and renovated to become a restaurant.
The Steer Barn also specializes in beef, surprise, surprise! Their steaks are supposed to be excellent, but also start at $40. On the night we were there, the special was $50. For that price, however, you get a plate full of food that is easily shareable. The smallest steak was 10 oz. and came with bread, salad, and two sides. Many people were sharing a meal, which makes it more reasonably priced.
The four of us ordered two burgers. Tom and I split and burger and fries and Mom and Dad did the same. I also ordered a side salad. The burgers were each a pound of beef served on a huge bun, so the shared burger was just the right size. The burgers were very good – juicy and a little greasy. The service was slow, but mostly because the waitress had so many tables, not because she didn’t know what she was doing.
After being fortified by the great meal, we climbed back in the car and went to Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights. The display is located at the Harrison Smith Park close to downtown Upper Sandusky. It has been going on since 1997 in order to raise money for charities in Wyandot County. We had to drive past it and then turn around because you could only enter as you drove from the west. Unlike some of the light displays we have been to, there wasn’t any line to get in. And the price was definitely right: a $5 donation per car.
We got a program that listed all the sponsors of the light display. What was most impressive was the name of every display and the people who put that display up. There were 95 separate displays, which means there were hundreds of volunteers who helped set up the light show.
We were very impressed by the number of displays and the variety. Some of them were just lights, but others had mannequins or painted cutouts. We loved the combine and tractor that were covered with lights. There was a beautiful peacock covering the side of a barn and an impressive Emerald City behind Dorothy and the other Wizard of Oz characters. Some displays were humorous while others were reverent. There was a beautiful nativity and a surprising Noah’s ark. We laughed a the “pirate” snowman with a plunger for a sword. It took us about 45 minutes to drive around the display and we thought about driving through a second time because there was so much to see.
Groups can arrange for a horse-drawn wagon ride through the display. On Monday and Tuesday evenings you can walk through the lights instead of driving through. On the night we went through, the workers were all volunteers from Wise Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram.
We really enjoyed our visit to Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights. We especially appreciated it because it was done by volunteers instead of professionals. I think we might go again next year just to see what we didn’t notice this year. The display is still going on through December 30, nightly from 6 until 9:30. If you have a chance, check it out.