For the first time in 26 years, Jackson County Parks + Rec is regretfully announcing the cancellation of tonight’s Christmas in the Sky event at Longview Lake Beach. While the forecast for today is favorable, the parking conditions at the event location are not.

The public parking for Christmas in the Sky is all on grass. The excessive rain over the last several days, combined with unseasonably warm weather, has created saturated ground conditions with standing water in the main and surrounding parking areas. There is simply not adequate surface parking in the area to accommodate the thousands of people who attend the holiday event.

“This is one of the hardest event decisions we have ever had to make,” said Parks + Rec Director Michele Newman. “We explored every option possible, with the hopes of moving forward. I love this event and look forward each year to kicking off the holiday season with the thousands of families who have made Christmas in the Sky part of their holiday tradition.”

Jackson County’s 36th Annual Christmas in the Park will open as planned at 5:30 tonight and will be open nightly through New Year’s Eve. The community is invited to enjoy the drive-thru holiday display featuring more than 1 million dazzling lights and 200 animated displays. Admission is free. Voluntary exit donations will be accepted, with a portion of the proceeds divided among 40 area charities. Thanks to the generosity of Christmas in the Park patrons, Jackson County has been able to give over $1.2 million to more than 1,000 local charities since the event’s inception.