Millions of Christmas lights will soon shine throughout Lancaster County.
And some shows can be seen from the bubble of your warm vehicle.
Drive-through (and park and watch) Christmas light displays aren’t new to the area but they’re even more relevant in a pandemic.
“It is the perfect social distancing event,” says Chris Miller, a technology and engineering education teacher at Conestoga Valley’s Huesken Middle School. He oversees a group of middle and high school students who managed to design, program and choreograph this year’s show while working remote.
From the safety of your car, you can drive through the woods filled with lights, through a covered bride and into a baseball stadium. One stars farm equipment. Four of these are free.
Read more about eight drive-though displays in the region.
What: Drive through two miles of wooded trails and see about 2 million lights on nearly 600 animated displays. With a pair of holospec glasses, this light show takes on another dimension.
Where: HersheyPark. From Hersheypark Drive, go north on Sand Beach Road for approximately 1/2 mile. Follow the signs to Boathouse Road to the Sweet Lights entrance.
When: Sweet Lights opens for the season Friday, Nov. 13. The site is open Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15 and starting Friday, Nov. 20, will be open nightly through Sunday, Jan. 3. Fridays through Sunday, hours are 5-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, hours are 5-9 p.m. The week of Christmas, the site will be open until 10 p.m.
Cost: $22.15 per vehicle that seats up to eight, Monday through Thursday; $30.15 per vehicle, Friday-Sunday and $42.15 for a van (9-15 people).
Did you know? Nearby Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane opens Friday, Nov. 13 with more than 5 million lights.
Herr’s Christmas Lights Display
What: Drive through this snack company’s corporate campus, decorated for the holidays with about 500,000 lights.
Where: 20 Herr Drive, Nottingham, Chester County
When: Daily from Wednesday, Nov. 25- Saturday, Jan. 2, dusk to dawn
Did you know? It takes a team of seven more than five weeks to put up the display and four weeks to take them down.
Lights For All
What: Drive through the woods decorated with eight miles of Christmas lights at Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center. There’s also the option to park, buy a drink and sit by a campfire.
Where: Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center, 455 Camp Road, Stevens. Use the Furnace Hill Road entrance.
When: Starting Friday, Nov. 27, the outdoor lights will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 20. Additional dates are Dec. 10, 17 and Dec. 26-30, Jan. 1-3 and 8-10. Hours are 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free. Donations will be given to 12 local nonprofits. (Each weekend features a different nonprofit.) Pre-registration is required.
Did you know? Fly through more holiday lights on four ziplines. Tickets for adults start at $39.
Christmas Light Drive-Through
What: In this 2.6-mile course with 600,000 lights, drive through a covered bridge, past a train and into a Moravian star forest.
Where: The Star Barn Village at Stone Gables Estate, which has a new entrance for the holiday display. The entrance is at Brittany’s Hope, 1160 N. Market St., Elizabethtown.
When: Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 27-December 31, 5-9 p.m. Plus Dec. 16-19, Dec. 21-24 and Dec. 28-31, 5-8 p.m.
Cost: $20 per vehicle that seats up to eight; $30 per vehicle that seats 9 or more, for online tickets or at the gate in cash. If paying with credit card at the gate, tickets are $22 and $33.
Did you know? Visitors receive a book: “The True Meaning of Christmas - The Celebration of the Birth of Christ.” New this year is a life-sized Nativity scene.
Christmas Spirit Light Show
What: Drive through a mile-long light show with tunnels, trees and more. The show has about 500,000 lights inside and outside Clipper Magazine Stadium, set to a synchronized soundtrack on the radio.
Where: Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince St., Lancaster
When: Drive-through light shows are Nov. 28-29; Dec. 3-6, Dec. 8-13 and Dec. 15-31. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 per vehicle with up to eight passengers. $30 for vehicles with 9 or more passengers. A season pass (good for up to four drivers) is $65. A portion of profits is donated to Clare House.
Did you know? The couple behind the show, Christopher Brink and Yana Banova-Brink, build the features in the back yard of their home near Middletown.
COVID-19 changes: Buy tickets online for less contact at the entrance. (Tickets are also available on-site.) Bathrooms will not be available and the stadium activities will not be held this year.
What: For the first time, Dutch Wonderland’s Old Mill Stream Campground will be lined with more than one million lights in a 1.5-mile drive-through display. The site will not have Dutch Winter Wonderland this year.
Where: Dutch Wonderland
When: Daily, Dec. 2-31, 5-9 p.m. The site will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.
Cost: Online tickets are $15 per vehicle that seats up to eight, Sunday-Thursday and $20 on Fridays and Saturdays. Online tickets for larger vehicles are $20, Sunday-Thursday and $25 on Fridays and Saturdays. On-site tickets cost $5 more. Buy tickets at DutchWonderland.com.
Did you know? The site’s castle will be open for kids to tell Santa their wishes and take photos (from a distance) through Dec. 23. Admission also includes a ride on the Wonderland Special train.
COVID-19 rules: Face masks are required for guests ages three and older at all times outside your vehicle while on site, except while eating or drinking.
Messick’s Christmas Light Show
What: Park your vehicle at this farm equipment business to watch the light show with about 70,000 lights synchronized to music on the radio.
Where: 187 Merts Drive, Elizabethtown
When: Dec. 4-30, 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Shows run every 10-12 minutes.
Cost: Free. Donations are collected at the end of the show. Proceeds go to local families. The business has raised $254,000 for local charities from light shows over the past seven years, says co-owner Lucas Messick
Did you know? The equipment wrapped with lights are for sale. A few times during the light show, staff have to swap out mowers or tractors when they’re sold and add lights to the replacement.
Conestoga Valley TSA Holiday Light Show
What: Park to watch a 20-25-minute light show with 14,000 lights choreographed to holiday and pop songs.
Where: Conestoga Valley’s Huesken Middle School, 500 Mt. Sidney Road, Lancaster
When: Shows are 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, 12, 18, 19 and 26. Also, as part of the Extraordinary Give, a recap of last year’s show will be held at the school, Friday, Nov. 20 with songs playing from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, donations go to the Technology Student Association club.
Did you know? This show is designed, programed and choreographed by students in grades 7 through 12. This year, they did the work virtually.
COVID-19 changes: No food sales. The live chorus will not perform this year.