The few live events available since March seem shoehorned into the tricky box of fairly safe things to do in a pandemic. Indoor dining, movie theaters, a brewery with friends? Yeah, maybe or maybe not. But drive-through holiday lights displays feel like they were made for such a time. So let’s head to the car.
Wallingford’s Toyota Oakdale Theatre, darkened by the pandemic like so many others, will look to monetize and light up its parking areas Friday, Nov. 13, to Jan. 2 with a first-time holiday display called The Magic of Lights, produced by a company (FunGuys LLC) that is doing nine other such displays this year from Jones Beach on Long Island to Edmonton in Canada.
The attraction, $20 plus $6 tax and fees per car if you buy online ($30-plus at the gate and $35-plus at the gate on weekends), promises a one-mile drive-through featuring various holiday-themed light displays using LED technology and digital animations, including a Blizzard Tunnel, as well as 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland and The Night Before Christmas.
The light show will run from dusk until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available via magicoflights.com.
More bright ideas:
— The free, drive-through Silver Lights Festival at Hubbard Park in Meriden will take place from Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, with 350,000 lights and 200 characters.
— The Holiday Light Fantasia is again scheduled at Goodwin Park in Hartford Thursdays to Sundays from Thanksgiving Day through Jan. 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. The two-mile show transforms the park into a drive-through wonderland via more than 1 million lights. $15 per car; more for bus or limo.
— The New Haven area’s annual tradition is slowly rolling through the light display at Lighthouse Point Park for the annual Fantasy of Lights, something area volunteeers (including newspaper employees) have worked on a given night for many years. Returning Nov. 20, it’s open 5-9 p.m. weeknights and 5-10 on Friday and Saturday. The $10 admission supports Goodwill of Southern New England.
— If you’re up for a drive just north of Connecticut, Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield, Mass., is the destination, as 5 million previous visitors would attest. Since 1995, the event is a public/private collaboration between the City of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings & Recreation Management and the Spirit of Springfield, a private nonprofit organization. Nov. 25-Jan. 3, same hours as New Haven’s except 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.