25-year holiday tradition leads to smiles in Jonesboro

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Winter Wonderland in Jonesboro has been in Allison Burton’s family for years.

She said after she last helped organize it back in 2006, she knew when she got her chance again, she would make it better than ever.

That is exactly what Burton has done since taking over back in 2020, as after a 14-year hiatus she wanted to bring the space back to its former glory.

“It originally started with my mother in 1995,” Burton said. “She had this vision that all children no matter their socioeconomical status would be able to experience Christmas for free.”

Burton grew up at the Winter Wonderland, helping her mother give everyone that Christmas joy.

That was until her mother passed away in 2006, and Burton wanted to continue her mother’s legacy, but there was a slight change of plans.

“I was put on active duty with the Army National Guard with the 875, and I lived in Little Rock for two years,” she said.

During her time away, the space took a downturn when all the previous volunteers left, and Burton was just forced to sit and watch.

She said it was hard on her family, but when they got the chance to run the space again, they knew they had to take advantage of the opportunity.

“We have definitely spruced it up,” Burton said. “A lot of the scenes both on our north and our south walls have been renovated, and we have two brand new scenes that we have brought.”

At the end of the day, Burton and her daughters all work full-time jobs and volunteer at the space after work, because they want to put a smile on everyone’s face.

“There was a point in my life that my kids wouldn’t experience Christmas, I was a single mother for a very long time and without a place like the Winter Wonderland to go, my kids wouldn’t have been able to experience this joy,” Burton said.

The Winter Wonderland runs through Friday, Dec. 23, with times varying. It is located on 215 West Monroe Avenue.

You can find more about the Winter Wonderland on the attraction’s Facebook page.

If you need more holiday goodness, you can visit the “Christmas Parades and Celebrations in Region 8″ article for a list of events in your area.