Friday, December 30, 2016

Festival of Lights

I know that it's after Christmas, and for some people, that means taking down the decorations and the tree and moving on.  We like to keep the Christmas magic going for just a bit longer.  So we took a trip to Bull Run Regional Park.  I've actually ridden Nimo there a few times now and I've taken my daughter for a couple of short hikes as well.  It's close to our house and it's a nice park.

In addition to water access for canoeing, hiking and horse trails, a water park, a shooting range, and lots of picnic shelters, the park offers a spectacular light display called the Festival of Lights from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.  The Festival involves a 2.5 mile drive through some pretty amazing light displays and at the end of the drive, you can stop in a little Christmas Village/Carnival for hot chocolate, photos with Santa, and more lights.

I'm not sure when the Festival started, but I've been seeing some of the light displays from the interstate since I first moved to Virginia in 2001 and I've always wanted to get a closer look.  Somehow, though, it has never worked out for us to go.  Until this evening.  Gemma is old enough to really start appreciating the light displays now and actually makes us take her for a walk each evening around the neighborhood so she can see the lights, so it seemed like a good time to add a tradition to our December.

So at about 7:30 this evening, we all piled into the car.  And by all, I mean my husband, me, my daughter, our dog, and every single blessed one of my daughter's stuffed animals plus her imaginary cats (we aren't sure how many there are yet...God help us if they are breeding...).

It's a quick trip to the park for us and because it is after Christmas, the line to get in wasn't too long.  And then the sheer amazingness began.  The cars are not supposed to stop for gawkers like me to take pictures, so most of what I got is a little blurry, but I'll share the pictures with you.  I didn't even take pictures of a third of what was in the park, but hopefully you'll get a taste of the displays.  Very worth the trip (and the $20 entrance fee!).

Cool rocking horse near the beginning
Fun line of trees with lights
I love this wreath!
A moving snowman blowing snow!
Of course I had to get a picture of the horse!
I'm not even sure what this is, but it looks so colorful!
Pirate Santa?
Not sure you can tell, but this is a fish pond and the fish were flashing and moving!
So blurry, but it was such a cute display
I adore these trees!
The entrance to my favorite section of the drive
This picture fails to do this scene justice - the whole surrounding forest was full of these moving lights that looked like snow falling - gorgeous!
This tree looks creepy and Christmasy at the same time
More creepy/Christmas - there was a witch flying over the castle!
Near the end - Santa's house, I think
I hope you enjoyed just a little more of Christmas, and if you're ever near Centreville, Virginia during the holidays, make sure you add the Festival of Lights to your list of activities:)


  1. How cute! Your "Mystery" one is Jack And The Beanstalk- the giant's butt is climbing down from a cloud! And I am pretty sure the pirate santa is Peter Pan and Captain Hook, with the crocodile in the water and all. :) (And the witch and castle is the wizard of oz, since it's an Emerald Castle :P) What fun for you and Gemma!

    1. Thanks, Cait! I didn't pick up on all the different stories that you identified for me - I'm sure you're right in all cases. Now I'll be able to label them properly in my daughter's scrapbook:)