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Tanglewood Festival of Lights features 5 new displays, entrance fee

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(Andrew Dye/Journal) Lisa Williams (right) carries her Schnauzer, Rain, and Martha McCarthy walks her Great Pyreness, Pearl and Opal, through the holiday light display during Paws in the Park on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C.

CLEMMONS, N.C. — Visitors to the popular Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park will notice a few changes this year, including five new displays and a new streamlined rate structure that will result in a higher entrance fee on most nights, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

In addition, visitors this year can take in the lights from horse-drawn carriages or tractor-pulled wagons.

One of Forsyth County’s signature holiday events, with more than 1 million lights from 85 displays, the 23 rd annual Festival of Lights will run from Nov. 22 to Jan. 1.

Organizers expect more than 250,000 people to attend this year’s show.

Last year, the show drew 246,000, which was down about 17,000 from 2012.

The Festival of Lights traditionally opens on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so when the holiday falls late in the month, as it did last year and will do again this year, attendance drops off.

The record attendance was 300,000 in 2001.

As they do each year, organizers have made a few tweaks to the festival.

One of the biggest this year is the pay structure. Instead of charging more on the weekends, the festival will be $15 nightly for family vehicles.

Last year, the rate was $10 for family vehicles during the week and $15 for weekends.

Vans, limos and minibuses will be charged $35, a $15 increase from last year’s weekly rate and a $10 increase from last year’s weekend rates; and buses and motor coaches will be charged $100, up $10 from last year.

The new price structure will stay the same through the festival, including holidays and “eves.”

The festival has added five new displays, pushing the total to 85. They will be nestled in a display route that travels nearly four miles through the park.

Jessica Sanders, the marketing and events manager for Forsyth County Parks and Recreation, declined to describe the new displays, saying she would rather wait until the festival opens on Nov. 22.

The displays have included snowflakes, golfers, ships, reindeer, ornaments and Biblical scenes.

All of this year’s displays will be using LED lights.

Runners and dogs are among those that have gotten an early jump on the festival.

For the last few years, festival organizers have allowed groups to hold special activities before the official start of the festival.

There was a 5K last week, and the Humane Society of Davie County held its Paws in the Park fundraiser Monday, allowing people to walk their dogs under the lights.

Also this year, people can view the displays from a tractor-pulled wagon or horse-drawn carriage from Tanglewood Farms.

The carriages and tractors travel about the same speed as vehicles, Sanders said. Reservations are required.

For more information, visit http://www.forsyth.cc/Parks/Tanglewood/fol/.