By Maria King, GRANDmother extraordinaire and founder/president of EventCrazy.com
I bet you think I am going to talk about making movies, don’t you? Well I am not; at least not in the form of big Hollywood productions. They could be potential smile winning home movies to cherish. Just don’t expect to hear, “the envelope please.” What I am talking about here is the combination of those three words as they relate to this week’s Holiday events.
The events this week all have decorating with lights in their theme. Some of them are drive thru, some are walk thru and some are just for viewing anytime you happen to be downtown. Most of these are holiday decorating on steroids. They feature lighted displays that are so bright they could serve as runways. These displays are a source of great warmth not for any real heat but because of the warm glow and feeling you get just looking at them. Maybe they bring back all the Christmas memories of your youth or maybe it’s just that you feel like a kid all over again. Whatever the reason I am very certain that if you like holiday lights, you will not be disappointed in any of the displays listed here.
The camera part is very easy to understand. Because everything you see, you will want to commit to memory. You do not want to miss a moment of the beauty or the reactions of those who are with you; young and old alike. Additionally, many have parades and the opportunity to visit with Santa. Those are definitely camera necessary events!
And finally, as far as action goes, anyone and everyone who has prepared for the holidays is very aware of how that figures in here. Activities, like getting everything together, baking cookies, making plans, decorating the house and the tree, the dreaded shopping trips, etc. is all the very definition of action. I am not complaining however, because I really enjoy it all. Well all except the shopping, I hate shopping any time of year.
The point is that the holidays are here to enthrall and overwhelm us. The next 5+ weeks will displays in your area to visit. Most of the ones I list here are on-going until Christmas and many beyond. I am sure most in your area will be as well. That’s great because you have a good amount of time to get to them, not just a weekend. Check with each event for specific dates and times. I promise that you will love it if you decide to go! My first official drive-thru display experience was over 20 years ago and the same excitement and anticipation is still there every season when I return.
Oglebay’s Winter Festival of Lights
Nov 08, 2013 – Jan 05, 2014
Oglebay Resort and Conference Center Wheeling, WV26003
Since 1985, over 40 spectacular displays consisting of over a million colorful lights displayed throughout 300 rolling acres of the 6 mile drive. Businesses participate with decorations to add to the festive atmosphere. There are craft demonstrations, a laser light show and train exhibits as well. This is a free event, however donations are graciously accepted.
Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013
Kentucky HorsePark Lexington, KY40596
Since 1994, Arts and crafts, seasonal entertainment, special exhibits and 4 miles of spectacular holiday lights.
Holiday Lights at the Beach
Nov 15, 2013 – Jan 01, 2014
Boardwalk at 2nd Street Virginia Beach, VA23450
Since 1996, 50,000+ cars drive along the boardwalk at night and view a colorful display of nautical-themed characters and animals. Listen to holiday music as you drive down the Virginia Beach boardwalk…dazzled by jumping fish, surfing Santa’s, and playful mermaids! The area is transformed from a peaceful oceanfront into a play land of nautical and holiday characters right before your eyes. Viewing this holiday treat has become a tradition for Hampton Roads families, with new displays added each year. There is a charge per vehicle to drive through the display. Beginning on 2nd Street on the Boardwalk.
Festival of Lights
Nov 23, 2013 – Jan 06, 2014
Downtown Historic District Natchitoches, LA71457
Celebrating “45 Nights of Christmas Lights”! Natchitoches, Louisiana has been Louisiana’s premiere holiday destination since 1926. Over 300,00 Christmas light and 120 plus river bank set pieces are on every night at dusk. Downtown attractions include carriage tours through the historic district. Shops and restaurants will be open late. All events take place in the Landmark Historic District along the CaneRiverLake.
Lights on the Lake
Nov 21, 2013 – Jan 12, 2014
Onondaga Lake Park Liverpool, NY13088
Two miles of breathtaking beauty await visitors at the Lights on the Lake. Open daily, this drive-through holiday light show transforms Onondaga Lake Park into a winter wonderland featuring larger than life displays and thousands of twinkling lights and has become a tradition for thousands of Central New York (and beyond) families.
International Festival of Lights
Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013
Downtown Battle Creek Battle Creek, MI49017
Kellogg’s Cereal CityUSA will magically transform into a winter wonderland. Thousands of twinkling lights, evergreens, chiming bells and seasonal decorations come together for a stunning wintertime event. Special weekend activities and events for kid’s of all ages. various events take place throughout the entire downtown.
Fantasy In Lights at Callaway Gardens
Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 30, 2013
Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain, GA31822
Since 1992, Fantasy In Lights continues to be the most incredible holiday light show in the South. Larger-than-life lighted scenes, music, a 22,000-square-foot ChristmasVillage, holiday decor and more make this one of those special experiences you’ll always treasure. Includes more than a dozen lighted scenes with music and many with animation. The total show includes 8,000,000 lights. This is equivalent to the number of lights on 26,666 standard 6-foot tall Christmas Trees.
Christmas City Walkway of Lights
Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013
Matter Park – Mississinewa Riverwalk Marion, IN46952
Over two and a half million lights illuminate the night along a 3 mile stretch of Marion’s Mississinewa Riverwalk, winding along into MatterPark. Visitors to the Christmas City Walkway of Lights can enjoy the many beautiful displays from the comfort of their own car, or by taking a leisurely stroll along the Mississinewa Riverwalk. The spectacular 96 foot riverboat and a suspension bridge which stretches 227 feet across the MississinewaRiver are two visitor favorites, and children of all ages will delight when they spy giant animated dinosaurs. After you have enjoyed the light display, come in and warm up by the Gift Shoppe fireplace. Browse through the many handcrafted gift items created by area artisans.
Nov 17, 2013
Sunset Hill Farm County Park Valparaiso, IN46385
Since 1999, SunsetHillFarmCountyPark has hosted thousands to this one day opening night of the Lights Display. While waiting for Santa families can decorate holiday cookies or make an ornament for their home and enjoy a wagon ride through the thousands of displays making up over 30 scenes in the park. Wind up the evening with a fireworks finale to kick off the holiday season. Following the lights ceremony, the drive begins and continues every Saturday and Sunday through to the end of December.
Garvan Woodland Gardens – Holiday Lights
Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013
Garvan Woodland Gardens Hot Springs, AR71913
This event is part of the Arkansas Trail of Lights. See nearly 4 million brilliant bulbs transform approximately 17 acres into a memorable animated holiday display in one of Arkansas’ most anticipated events. Complimentary hot chocolate. The Chipmunk Café will be open from 3-9 p.m. each day during Holiday Lights.
Enchanted Garden of Lights
Nov 22, 2013 – Jan 04, 2014
Rock City Gardens Lookout Mountain, GA30750
Since 1996, This award-winning, light extravaganza features more than 30 holiday scenes and over a million lights (with new LED’s) that transform the garden’s natural daytime splendor into a nocturnal fantasyland. See snow and visit with St. Nick and his elves. Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa, Sugar Plum Fairy Makeovers and nightly entertainment at the North Pole Adventure! See elves harvesting candy canes and building toys!
Nov 22, 2013 – Nov 23, 2013
Moody Gardens Galveston, TX77554
Since 2002, Weekends Only. Fun for all ages… Festive sights and sounds will fill MoodyGardens. This whimsical celebration will kick off the holiday season with Santa Claus parachuting in to switch on the lights. Transforming its lush tropical garden setting into a winter wonderland, Moody Gardens® will be adorned with more than a million twinkling lights and over one hundred light displays featuring a variety of scenes including nature, the North Pole, Toyland, underwater and much more. New this year is an exciting audio experience that will compliment the light displays, filling the night air as visitors travel down a path over a mile. In addition to the path of light displays, guest can strap on a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the Outdoor Ice Rink at Moody Gardens®. Indoors, visitors can take pictures with Santa or even gaze upon a giant poinsettia tree. The IMAX® 3D Theater will feature a variety of holiday-themed films during the Festival of Lights including Santa vs. the Snowman 3D, Nutcracker 3D and Polar Express 3D. At the Ridefilm theater, guests can buckle up their seatbelts and experience the thrills of one or both of two films, Santa’s Late and Glacier Run. Polar Express will also be showing in the 4D theater, where exciting special effects like real snow will tickle the audience from head to toe.
Christmas Wonderland of Lights
Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013
Zootastic Park Troutman, NC28166
Since 2009, the annual Christmas Wonderland of lights, one of the Carolinas Largest Light Shows. With over 2 million lights, and a computerized light show set to music this will be a memory your entire family won’t forget. Along with the lights, Santa will be visiting nightly until Christmas Eve, we have petting zoos, pony rides, concessions, roasting pits to make smores, a candy shop, general store, and much, much more.
Galaxy of Lights Walking Nights
Nov 22, 2013 – Nov 26, 2013
Huntsville Botanical Gardens Huntsville, AL35805
Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light extravaganza featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. See Santa soaring over a delightful winter village. Nursery rhyme characters dance and frolic among traditional scenes of the season. And, best of all, experience the magic of the twinkling icicle forest. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. Walking nights are the best way to experience the Galaxy of Lights.
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