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History of the Festival

Whoville, Inc. is a collection of generous private local donors whose mission is to bring our community closer together for the holidays while showcasing the new South End Development of Manhattan, Kansas. 

It all started with an Idea

Whoville, Inc. is a collection of generous private local donors whose mission is to bring our community closer together for the holidays while showcasing the new South End Development of Manhattan, Kansas. 

It was springtime in 2013, tulips blossoming, trees swaying in the wind...and the foundation at the south end of Manhattan freshly settled. Poyntz Avenue was shaping up with new businesses opening and just beyond, the town had expanded to include a diverse array of new opportunities for our community: The Discovery Center, Hilton Garden Inn, Blue Earth Place, Candlewood Suites and Fairfield Inn anchored the newly named Blue Earth Plaza, and in 2014 were followed by Radina’s Bakehouse, CivicPlus and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

It was longtime local businessman, Colin Noble, who first had the vision to inaugurate the area with a grand holiday tree in the Blue Earth Plaza. He called upon Brad Everett & Gwyn Riffel to expand the idea, wherein Wade Radina joined, ultimately forming Whoville, Inc. It was this group of leaders, together with Ward Morgan and Master Landscape, who caused a simple idea of a holiday tree to expand into Manhattan's Festival of Lights! And so the overarching goal in one short year has grown into a commitment by this group and many more to hold an annual event at the beginning of the holiday season to bring our community together in celebration.


Supporting the Festival of Lights

The Manhattan Festival of Lights event is a magical time for children to sit on Santa’s lap, play games, and listen to sweet sounds of local choral groups. All can enjoy hot chocolate fireside while taking in the spectacular lights dancing to classic holiday tunes.

It is Whoville’s hope that their committment to this holiday kick-off tradition will inspire others to raise money for local charities.The founding members of Whoville, Inc. with support of the City of Manhattan are raising funds to expand this annual lighting ceremony with the help of local businesses and funding partners. If you would like the honor of supporting this celebration, please join us for the 2016 Festival of Lights and donate today!