With over 100 displays and over 1 million lights, it’s no surprise that the “elves” at Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights have been hard at work pulling out their famous light displays as early as mid-August! The highly anticipated holiday season spectacle, sponsored by Lowes Foods, will kick off this year on Friday, November 13th, and run through January 1st, ready for your family and friends to create some wonderful memories!
Since its inception in 1992, The Festival of Lights has continued to grow not only in popularity both near and far, but in size. When it first began, the festival was just over 1.5 miles long and included twenty to twenty-five light displays. As of today, the festival is approximately 5 miles long and now includes over 100 displays! Many may be surprised to know that the lights are LED, creating brighter and more economically friendly displays.
Every year the team at Tanglewood tries to create one new display to keep things fresh. It makes it a fun game for Festival of Lights veterans as they try to spot the new display each year. Without giving away too much, festival-goers may want to pay close attention as they ride down into the Steeplechase this season for a few exciting changes!
Year after year, Tanglewood continues to experience peak participation, with vehicles driving through the park from all over North Carolina and other neighboring states to see the lights. Filled with entertainment for all ages, the festival is also a widely accessible event, with affordable admission starting at $15 for personal vehicles, and it even hosts several discounted nights where admission drops to just $5! While there are always some first-time attendees enjoying the fun, many have been coming back for years. So, what keeps bringing people back?
Brandi Chappell, Festival of Lights Manager, says, “We have such a wonderful community and coming to the Festival of Lights each year has been a family tradition for so many. What makes the Festival of Lights special is the infectious holiday spirit everyone brings each night. It’s the people singing along to holiday music in the car and interacting with our staff. The community truly makes the Festival of Lights a merrymaking event!”
In the midst of a year filled with change due to COVID-19, the familiarity of Tanglewood tradition during the holiday season will definitely add some much-needed comfort and excitement in 2020. “The Festival of Lights is well suited for this unfortunate situation,” Brandi shared. “All patrons will be in their vehicles and will be socially distanced from other people attending. The Gift Village will be closed this year due to COVID-19. Our maintenance staff and seasonal staff will be regularly sanitizing throughout the evenings and taking all precautions to ensure a safe event.”
As you check your calendar to plan your visit this year, the best tip the team at Tanglewood can give is to come to the Festival of Lights early in the season and early in the evening! Monday through Thursday, historically tend to be slower nights, while Friday through Sunday are extremely busy. “We truly feel that the best way to create memories at the show is to have some holiday spirit and enjoy the beauty that the lights have to offer. So take lots of pictures with your family and friends, sing along to holiday songs and enjoy the show!”
2020 Ticket Prices – November 13th through January 1st
$15 personal vehicles
$35 commercial vehicles
$100 motor coaches
Special Discount Dates – November 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th
$5 personal vehicles
$15 commercial vehicles
$65 motor coaches
Tickets may be purchased at the gate upon entry and in advance at the Marketing and Events office at Tanglewood Park.