By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
You may have gotten a “peek” at the lights while driving on I-66 (especially headed east from Manassas), but if you have not yet actually driven through the Bull Run Festival of Lights, you are missing out on most of the displays — and all the extras that make this a true “festival” beyond a light show.
The annual event, hosted at Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville, is a tradition for many local families. This year, the festival takes place November 18, 2015, through January 3, 2016. Read on for details on this event and how you can win a free car pass!
The main attraction is the drive-through light show, which features elaborate illuminated displays that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own car! You’ll drive through scenes depicting Santa’s workshop, the Twelve Days of Christmas, and other holiday and winter scenes. Be on the lookout for penguins, snowmen, candy canes, “flying” reindeer, and even some very cool lights that resemble snow falling overhead. The thousands of lights are spread across displays that you see on either side of your car as you drive slowly on a 2.5 mile path. A nice plus is that since you are in your car, it’s an event you can enjoy no matter what the weather is like.
If the winter weather is nice, though (not raining or too cold), also make time to visit the carnival at the end of your ride. The carnival is open on select dates and features traditional midway rides and games (ride tickets are not included with the basic festival admission). Also visit the Holiday Village to enjoy bonfires, s’mores, hot cocoa, holiday merchandise, photos with Santa, and Santa’s Enchanted Lights, 40,000 twinkling lights set to music. On select dates there are also free family activities including cookie decorating, bingo, crafts, and nature shows, and, for a small fee, even camel rides!
Admission prices are per carload. Mondays through Thursdays, the fee is $15 per car; on weekends and holidays, the fee is $20 per car, except all Saturday nights in December, when the fee is $25 per car. The times for the festival (and the carnival, on applicable dates) are 5:30-9:30 Mondays through Thursdays, and 5:30-10 pm Fridays-Sundays and holidays.
Event dates and times this year are:
- Drive-through light show: Open daily November 18-January 3, 2016,
- Holiday Village: December 3-6 and December 10-27
- Camel Rides: December 3-6 and December 10-27
- Visits with Santa: See Santa at the festival December 3-6 or December 10-23
- Carnival: November 19-22, November 26-29, and December 3-January 2
Some tips to enjoy the festival:
- Go on a weekday: you will save money and avoid the crowds (with fewer cars, you usually can go a bit slower to enjoy the drive more
- Set the mood: make some hot cocoa before you go and put it in travel mugs to enjoy during your drive, set the radio to a station playing holiday music, and bring blankets and the kids’ favorite stuffed animals
All photos courtesy of Bull Run Festival of Lights
Win a car pass to the Bull Run Festival of Lights!
To enter, use any or all of the options in the Rafflecopter app below. Enter by 11:59 pm on Monday, November 30, 2015. One winner will be randomly selected and notified early on December 1; the winner will need to respond with 24 hours to the notification email or risk forfeiture. The car pass will be sent to the winner via regular U.S. mail. This promotion is not affiliated with Facebook; see other terms on the Rafflecopter app when entering. Contestants agree to abide by our giveaway terms and conditions. Giveaway open to entrants ages 18 and up.