The holiday season is here, and there are many drive-thru parks students can visit to get them in the Christmas spirit.
Marshall has their annual event that takes place downtown and is lighted with hundreds and hundreds of thousands lights. The Wonderland of Lights starts with their Lighting Ceremony, which takes place on November 26, and runs through December 31, New Year’s Eve.
“Our emphasis this year is on the downtown area, the beautiful historic courthouse, were lighting all the trees that line N. Washington, you know, so we are really focusing on the beauty of our downtown area,” said Lisa Agnor, City Secretary of Marshall.
“But in conjunction with that, one of the key things that we are trying to do this year is offer some form of live entertainment every evening, we want to have at least one live performance every evening,” said Agnor.
When there are not performances live, students can still enjoy the sound of traditional Christmas music while enjoying downtown Marshall.
There all kinds of activities to enjoy at the Wonderland of Lights such as Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, carriage rides and an ice-skating rink.
In Santa’s Workshop, people get to put together cars and trucks with the help of Santa, his workers, visit with Mrs. Claus and decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. There is even an opportunity to take a picture with Santa Claus.
Food carts can also be found during the Wonderland of Lights, serving a variety of snacks and beverages for people to enjoy.
“They are going to be selling (items) like kettle corn and hot nuts, hot dogs, and things like that so the people that are attending can you know have some good things to snack on and enjoy, hot chocolate, coffee, things like that,” Agnor said.
The ice-skating rink is open every night that the festival is open, and there is a 25% discount on the ice-skating fee for TJC students who present a valid school ID.
“Anybody that wants to just get out and stroll, our downtown Marshall is very beautiful to take a walk around the courthouse and just listen to the music, stop in and have a bite of dinner at one of the local restaurants, it’s for young and old,” Agnor said.
The Wonderland of Lights is an event for believers of all ages can partake in and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
“Our goal for downtown Marshall is to just basically be the vision of what you would see in a traditional Christmas setting, you know basically be centered on the beauty of the season, the holidays and all the traditions you cherish from as a child at Christmas,” Agnor said. “Christmas carols and Christmas in the air, I think it would be just basically reminiscing of a traditional holiday memory.”
The Wonderland of Lights is open November 26 through December 31.
Christmas Park Land of Lights is a drive-thru theme park located in Athens, Texas. It is owned and operated by the Pool family and has been open for 17 years. It stretches about a mile and a half long with about four million lights, 60 different Christmas scenes and about 2000 wood cutouts for customers to enjoy.
“I’ve heard people come through and say, ‘I have never seen anything like it.’ There have been older people, I think we had some 90 year old twins, that came through and they said this is the most amazing thing they’ve seen,” said Garland Pool, owner of Christmas Park Land of Lights .
The 60 Christmas scenes vary from motion lights to Disney’s Cars, cats, dogs, The Grinch, Duck Dynasty to Marilyn Monroe, and even Elvis. There is a different Christmas song for each scene.
“We’ve got 50, approximately 50 motion controls … I’ve got an elephant that will raise up and then come back down or a dog jumping. Anyway, there’s 50 of those motions, we’ve got over 60 stereos playing there are related to the music … We have Elvis in the building and Blue Christmas is playing at that location,” said Pool.
In the Grinch Christmas scene there will be a live Grinch during the weekends.
“He’s been in there for about 4 or 5 years. Somebody came through up there where you pay and said there was a family and they had three little girls in a pickup and they got there and saw the Grinch moving all three of them hit the floorboards,” said Pool.
The wood cutouts are characters that vary from elves, animals, Bratz dolls, dinosaurs, Smurfs and Disney Princesses.
Customers can buy food to enjoy while driving through the park at Santa’s Snack Shack which has all sorts of concessions for sale; customers can buy hot chocolate, candy, popcorn, barbeque and so on.
Santa Claus will also be at the Land of Lights for those wanting a picture with him. “I know that he’ll be here from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve,” said Pool.
Christmas Park Land of Lights is located on 1500 NW Loop 7, Athens, Texas 75751. It is open November 10, 2014-January 3, 2015 and the hours are 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m. The fees are $25 for family vehicles, $40 for commercial vehicles and pickup loads, and $4 a person for buses.
Pineywoods Christmas Lighted drive-thru gives people that a a chance to see the park and campers decorated in lights and also see campers decorate their campsites for others to enjoy.
Students have the option of walking or driving through the park to see the lights and can get some shopping checked off of their Christmas gift list at the Park Gift Shop.
“We do have a park store, it has souvenirs, snacks, fishing supplies all sorts of stuff in there,” said Sanders. “We have lots of t-shirts, hats, jackets, during that time we’ll have the state park Christmas ornaments out and those are really nice. There’s games and all sorts of things, It’s really geared for being outdoors but there’s a lot of Christmas stuff they’ll have out that’s really nice for gifts,” said Sanders.
The Pineywoods suits those interested in an adventure and exploring the woods. The Pineywoods Christmas Lighted Drive-thru will also be serving refreshments in the Park Store.
“We get you outdoors. It’s almost like the old times where you just get your family in a car and drive through neighborhoods before they had the big Christmas lighting, acres and acres of Christmas lights, so it’s kind of a family connection getting people back out and just doing the simple stuff,” said Sanders.
The Pineywoods Christmas Lighted drive-thru is December 13, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission is free to the public after 5 p.m. It is located on 789 Park Road 16 in The Tyler State Park.