Bentleyville celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and you can illuminate the history of the holiday attraction with a special exhibit opening at The Depot.

The Bentleyville 20th Anniversary History Exhibit opens with a ribbon-cutting open house on Tuesday, November 14th from 5 PM until 7 PM, Nathan Bentley and the Bentleyville team will be on hand for the grand opening.

The exhibit will feature a look back at the history of the holiday attraction that started in 2001 in Nathan Bentley's yard and quickly grew from a simple drive-by light show to a full walkthrough attraction in 2003 with Santa making appearances on the weekend.

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Bentley moved the light display to Cloquet in 2004 to his new home, and it was the first year of the attraction being called 'Bentleyville.' After a couple of years, the attraction was drawing over 35,000 each year and the traffic and parking were starting to be a problem. Bentley started teaming up with neighbors for parking lots and using school buses to take visitors to the attraction.

The Duluth Depot - St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

By 2008 Bentleyville was welcoming over 72,000 visitors a year and Bentley decided to take the year off to contemplate the future of the attraction, that's when Duluth Mayor Don Ness called Bentley to City Hall for a meeting. Fast forward to Friday, November 27, 2009, Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” opened at the location where it remains today, Bayfront Park, and welcomes 280,000 – 300,000 guests each season.

The 20th-anniversary exhibit at The Depot will feature a mini-display of bygone Bentleyville decorations, lights, and signs. Visitors will also get a chance to see 20 years of Bentleyville souvenirs and swag and Santa's original sleigh. The exhibit will be on display at The Depot from November 14th through December 31st from 10 AM - 5 PM.

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