Bentleyville Organizers Sign Three-Year Contract

By KBJR News 1

Bentleyville Organizers Sign Three-Year Contract

December 19, 2012 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - What could be called one of Minnesota's biggest holiday light displays isn't going anywhere, at least for the next three years.

On Wednesday, Duluth Mayor Don Ness confirmed the return of the Bentleyville tour of lights.

Bentleyville is in the last year of its three year contract with the city of Duluth.

Now fans can be rest assured until 2015 at the least.

Nathan Bentley had recently expressed concern about two men who won the right to preach their version of the gospel inside the grounds.

He said that the preaching has been a distraction and takes away from the holiday spirit.

Bentley called the recent preaching a deterrent and it had him on the fence from signing another festival of lights event into contract.

But that didn't stop Bentley from renewing the contract with the city.

He points to the visitors for his decision to keep the event going, made possible by dozens and dozens of volunteers.

"When the community came out and spoke so strongly, with Facebook postings, emails, letter writing—just a wide variety of communication to us—telling us we want Bentleyville. Don't let a handful of people ruin this for us. That made it really clear that this is where Bentleyville belongs," Nathan Bentley, Bentleyville Organizer, said.

Mayor Ness says the tour of lights is a success story that we all can be proud of.

Other Duluth leaders spoke about local businesses experiencing the positive effects from the event, calling Bentleyville a "holiday gift" for business owners.

Bentley did not say what exactly what his ideas are, but he did say that a grander, expanded light show is on its way.

He says next year's event will be sure to leave a lasting impression.

Bentleyville runs though Wednesday, December 26th.

Justin Reis, NNC.
jreis@kbjr.com