CELEBRATE 2022 – Delightful elves, a towering jack-in-the-box and a glowing toy shop have taken up residence at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
The bright green, red and blue light displays are part of Holiday Lighted Nights, a drive-thru show that stretches more than a mile and a half. Attendees can tune in to a certain radio station to hear a narrated story along the way, and stop at the holiday bazaar at the center for snacks and gifts.
It’s the second year of the show, which proved to be a hit last year.
“It was very popular last year. We were kind of blown away, to be honest,” said Rebecca Breese, one of the general managers at the Washington County Fairgrounds, a nonprofit organization.
They’ve expanded it this year with new displays.
“We have our Santa, but we have our Elf Land. We have a 12 Days of Christmas [display]. Then one thing that’s kind of cool is we have a couple of displays that were put together by other groups that you’re familiar with seeing during the fair,” Breese said.
That includes the 4-H club and the Federation of Sportsmen, groups that are competing for the Brightest Bulb prize.
“People are going to get to vote on which one is their favorite, and we have a giant trophy that you can plug in — it’s a giant light bulb and it lights up — that’s going to be the cool thing that we’re going to pass on each year,” Breese said.
“We’re really lucky to have such a strong fair community. When we came up with this idea we were very lucky [so] many people jumped on it and said, ‘How can we help and how can we be a part of this?’ ”
Also new this year, organizers are collecting cans to donate to Comfort Food Community food pantries, and are asking all attendees to bring at least one can of soup to donate.
“The Comfort Food Community is a fantastic group in our area. They have a very wide reach that they support, so we’re quite honored to partner with some pretty amazing people in our community,” Breese said.
Holiday Lighted Nights runs through Dec. 30, with dark days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It starts at 4:30 p.m. each day and the last time slot for tickets is 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per car.
“It’s a great way to come celebrate the holiday season with your family and be a part of a new, hopeful Christmas tradition, and be able to kind of help the Comfort Food Community by bringing those soup cans but also being a part of the magic that is in our area,” Breese said.
For more information, visit washingtoncountyfairgrounds.com.
Round Lake display
Santa’s Playland is back this year at Quick Response. It’s a tradition that began in 2000 and has grown over the years, a drive-thru display sprawling across the business’ property off Route 9.
It takes about two months to assemble the show, which brings drivers through a route of wintry scenes. The free show features new displays, as well as some traditional ones such as the Candy Factory, Tumbling Gingerbread Men, Santa’s Sleigh and others. Drivers are encouraged to tune in to 88.5 FM when journeying through the holiday display.
On Monday, Dec. 18, from 5 to 9 p.m. all emergency responders and law enforcement as well as their families will be celebrated during an evening of free rides, light displays, refreshments and holiday treats. Santa Claus will also be on hand for photos with the family.
The show is up through Jan. 6 and is located at 2095 Route 9, Round Lake. Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For information, visit Quick Response Restoration on Facebook.