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Drive or Walk-Thru the Holiday Light Shows this Season

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2020-12-18 11:50:00

With the holiday season getting started, it’s time for a favorite annual tradition—enjoying the sight of holiday lights. Taking in the sparkle and splendor of twinkling lights is a beautiful way to brighten the winter season and get into the holiday spirit—whether you’re cruising around the neighborhood or taking part in one of the many annual light shows being put on across Upstate New York.

Some of the usual holiday displays are taking the year off in 2020, but many of the most famous are still up and running, drive-thru or walk-thru style, and there are even some new events in the mix. Generally, these displays run from late November until late December or early January, though dates and hours vary, and most require tickets, so check before you go. Even if things are a little different this year, kids and adults alike will still love to see the different themed light displays set up throughout these spots.

In Central New York, the beloved Lights on the Lake show is back for another season. Held at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool (near Syracuse), this display has been a local favorite held drive-thru style for over 30 years; in fact, at two miles long, clocks in at one of the longest drive-thru light shows in the state. In Utica, the Utica Zoo is putting on a special socially-distant walk-through light show, new in 2020, called “Bright Nights,” which will be held at the zoo during evenings through early January. And in Western New York, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights in Hamburg is back this year with their annual holiday drive-thru light show too.

If you’re closer to the Capital Region, take a drive to the Capital Holiday Lights in the Park. Set up in Albany’s Washington Park from just after Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s, this festive drive-thru event is in its 24th year and features more than 125 unique light displays to enjoy. And just a little further north, the Adirondack town of Lake George is hosting a walk-thru Holiday Festival of Lights at Charles R. Wood Park.

The Catskills and the Hudson Valley have a full slate of holiday light shows going on this year. Bethel Woods, the site of the original Woodstock, is offering a drive-thru or walk-thru “Peace, Love and Lights” show. Ulster Park’s beloved holiday light show, “Frosty Fest,” has replaced its usual hayrides with a drive-thru format this year as well; and the Orange County Fairgrounds is hosting a Holiday Light Spectacular with a drive-thru light show, holiday treats, and take-home gingerbread kits for the kids.

Of course, holiday lights are everywhere—if there aren’t any big displays in your area, create an adventure of your own to take in the sights of the season. Pick a nice night, pack a thermos of hot cocoa and maybe some cookies, load up the family, crank up the holiday music, and go for a drive around your neighborhood or town to see who has the best displays in their front lawns. Who knows—maybe you’ll start a new family tradition!

Lights on the Lake photo credit Lights on the Lake
North Pole Station photo credit Lights on the Lake
Capital Holiday Lights photo credit UpstateNYer
Lake George holiday lights photo credit lakegeorge.com
Peace Love and Lights display photo credit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

posted at: 2020-12-18 11:50:00, last updated: 2021-01-01 12:39:33

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