UPDATE DEC. 20, 2017: Win one of two car passes to this event! See details below!
By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
If you drive along I-66 (especially traveling east from Manassas) in winter, you can’t miss the lights that sometimes peek out from the trees. This means the Bull Run Festival of Lights is back! Visiting this annual holiday lights display at Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville is a tradition for many local families. This fun drive-through display with different scenes is an easy and quick way to spend family time together, regardless of the weather. This year, the festival takes place November 22, 2017, through January 7, 2018.
The main attraction of the Festival of Lights is the drive-through light show, which features elaborate illuminated displays that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own car. As you drive along the 2.5-mile-long circular route, you will see scenes depicting Santa’s workshop, the Twelve Days of Christmas, and other holiday and winter scenes. You also will spot penguins, snowmen, candy canes, “flying” reindeer, and in one section even some very cool lights that resemble snow falling overhead. Since this is a drive-through attraction, it’s an event you can enjoy no matter what the from the comfort of your car no matter how cold it is outside.
If the winter weather is nice or you’re bundled up and ready to brave the 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 see 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 $20 or $25 per car, depending on the day. You can download a $5 off coupon on the website to use on select dates. 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.
Some tips to enjoy the festival:
- Go on a weekday: you will save money and avoid the crowds (another plus: with fewer cars, you usually can go a bit slower to enjoy the drive more)
- Download the coupon: save $5 per car for select weekday admissions with this coupon from the festival website
- Gather friends: as long as you’re paying by the carload, take along some friends for extra fun!
- 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
Win a car pass to the Bull Run Festival of Lights
Two winners will each one free car pass to the Bull Run Festival of Lights, good for any day during the 2017-2018 operating season. Each winner will receive a free entry pass for one vehicle that can be used for any day and time of the festival. To enter this giveaway, leave a blog post comment below before 11 pm on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Two winners will be randomly selected and notified immediately via email at the address the winner used when placing the comment; the winner will need to respond with 24 hours to the notification email or risk forfeiture. The passes will be mailed to the recipient via regular U.S. Postal Service mail (in-person pick-up may be an option). This promotion is not affiliated with Facebook. Contestants agree to abide by our giveaway terms and conditions. This giveaway is open to persons ages 18 and up. The total value per prize is up to $25.
All photos courtesy of Bull Run Festival of Lights