MAD Trail of Lights to open today

MAD officials staff members spent the day Monday preparing for the opening of the new Holiday Trail of Lights at MAD.

The crew was busy at work in MAD Amphitheater setting up giant inflatables, revving up the MAD holiday train and positioning other holiday-themed props to welcome crowds for the opening of the downtown attraction at 5 p.m. today.

Presented by Murphy USA, the Holiday Trail is MAD's version of a holiday, winter wonderland.

By 5 p.m. Monday, the crew had assembled a nativity scene, the inflatables, "river" that flows through amphitheater, a holiday tunnel replete with tunnel with lights, the train and inflatable party room, a giant igloo which can be rented for parties throughout the holiday season.

"It's really come together a lot in the last couple of hours. It's not quite what we intended to be. We're still working on it. We still have things that were ordered coming in and we're going to add to it as we can," MAD president and CEO Pam Griffin said, adding, "We'll work with what we've got."

MAD launched the Holiday Trail in the absence of the MAD on Ice skating rink and plans to build tubing hills as a new feature for the MAD holiday attraction this year.

Griffin previously said that the idea for the trail had been in the works for a while and when efforts to reinvigorate the annual ice-skating rink and purchase equipment for and construct the tubing hills did not pan out, partly due to a time crunch, MAD officials decided to develop and implement the holiday trail in order to offer the public a holiday destination.

The holiday trail will run through Dec. 31.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit or call 870-444-3007.

Other holiday happenings that are scheduled downtown this week are Pancakes in Pajamas with Santa and Santa on the Square, both of which are set for Saturday.

Pancakes in Pajamas with Santa will be held from 8 until 9:30 a.m. and Santa on the Square is set from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Pancakes will be held at new downtown restaurant Barefoot Bistro Bakery and Catering, 101 E. Main, and is a ticketed event at a cost of $25 per participant.

Breakfast will include pancakes, bacon, a choice of milk or orange juice and a "personal experience with Santa."

Parents who accompany their children are not required to pay for a ticket.

"The parent doesn't have to buy a ticket unless they want to eat. If you bring three kids, then you buy three tickets," Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado, previously said.

Holly McDonald, executive assistant of MSE, said participants will not be allowed inside after 9 a.m.

Santa on the Square is free and open to the public.

The event will include free rides on the holiday train and horse and carriage. Participants may also snap their own photos with Santa for free.

Brumley explained that proceeds from Pancakes will help cover costs to host the event and the cost of the train and horse-and-carriage rides that will be offered free to the public.

To register for pancakes, visit

The El Dorado Christmas Parade is also set for 7 p.m. Thursday.

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