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A Colonial Forge News Publication

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Top 10 Places to Enjoy Christmas Lights

With Thanksgiving being over, it is officially Christmas season. Colorful arrangements of Christmas lights and decorations are one of the best ways to get into the spirit, so listed below is the official guide to the best places to see Christmas lights this year. 

Picture taken via Dominion Energy
  1. GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 

Million of lights, botanical decorations, model trains, festive dinners, warming fire, hot chocolate and s’mores, and more are featured nightly through January 7th. To visit, tickets must be bought in advance and children under 3 are able to come for free, youth (3-17) tickets cost $7, and adult tickets cost $10.

Picture taken via WYDAILY

2. Winterfest at Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion transforms into a winter wonderland with millions of shimmering lights, breathtaking decor, and lavish displays.The Eiffel Tower will become a 300-foot-tall Christmas tree, and the iconic fountain on International Street will become one of the most beautiful and largest ice-skating rinks around. General admission tickets online start at $24.99 when four or more tickets are bought, and $32.99 without. 

Picture taken via Illuminate Night Show

3. Illuminate Night Show and Santa’s Village

For those who prefer the comfort of their own vehicles, Illuminate Night Show is Virginia’s largest drive-thru synchronized Christmas light and music show! Tickets cost $30 per vehicle and can be purchased online or in person. 

Picture taken via NOVA Parks

4. Bull Run Festival of Lights

Similar to the previous event, Bull Run Festival features 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays, which you can view from the comfort of your car. Tickets range from $30-$75 per vehicle when bought online. 

Picture taken via MidAtlantic DayTrips

5. Celebration in Lights

With over a million lights, this two mile display features  a salute to the USS Newport News (CA-148), a ship named after their hometown and built by Newport News Shipbuilding. This impressive lighting installation presents a beautiful silhouette of the “Top Gun” awarded ship and stands 36 feet tall. Tickets cost $15 per car on the weekdays and $18 per car on the weekends. 

Picture taken via Herald Courier

6. Christmas Lighting of the Tunnel

You’ll be escorted by a chairlift down to the tunnel and once you make it, you’ll be greeted by thousands of Christmas lights and see animated Christmas displays. Once at the tunnel, stand by the warm fire and drink hot chocolate, as well as listen to Christmas carols. The Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association will also be on hand with period dressed historians telling stories of Christmas from 1775 in the Carter Cabin, one of Scott County’s older buildings. Tickets cost $5 per person for a round trip and $4 per person for a one-way ticket. 

Picture taken via Winterfest on the Wisconsin

7. Winterfest on The Wisconsin

This is a display of over 1 million Christmas lights on the historic Wisconsin Battleship. Events include live entertainment at the Mistletoe Marina, historic battleship experience, photos with Santa, and more. There will also be a Lighted Sailboat Parade taking place along the Elizabeth River. Tickets cost $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children. 

Picture taken via Explore Bristol

8. The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights

Located on the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights is a 4-mile ride through 3 million lights. In addition to the ride, visitors will also get the chance to take a lap around “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” and eventually circle the concrete oval as part of their festive drive and also may visit the Christmas Village. Tickets cost $20-$125 per vehicle, depending on how many people the vehicle is holding.

Picture taken via Simply Buchanan

9. Buchanan Festival of Lights

Thousands of tiny lights adorn trees and buildings on the grounds of the Buchanan Town Park. Enjoy the beauty of the lights under the clear, star filled sky next to the James River. This is a great evening for photo ops with the family, there will also be smores for the kids, soup, petros and hot cocoa for sale at the food concession stand, and photos with Santa. Admission is purchased through donations, which are contributed to buying lights for next year.

Picture taken via Shencofair 

10. Christmas in the Valley

The drive thru Christmas lights are clearly the main attraction here, but this place features a more popular attraction to get some Christmas shopping done. You can visit the Christmas Village Exhibit Hall for baked goods, artisan crafts, freshly roasted nuts, and unique handmade items. The drive-thru is open Fridays and Saturdays and tickets cost $25 per vehicle. 

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About the Contributor
Abby Burtner, Sports Editor
Abby Burtner is a junior and currently a staff writer for The Talon. Outside of journalism, you can find her at XC practice, doing homework, or coaching youth soccer.
Donate to The Talon
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