FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — It’s a Christmas tradition thousands of people wait hours to drive through.
Chris Weavil, Forsyth County Parks and Recreation assistant director of operations, explained Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights is a huge Piedmont attraction and a major undertaking for the park.
“One crew brings the lights to the actual site, and we have another crew that actually installs the displays,” said Weavil. “Then, we have the third crew that wires everything up.”
Getting Tanglewood Park ready for the Christmas holidays is not an instant process. It takes a lot of time to get 72 displays with more than one million lights ready for visitors.
“The process for doing each year’s Festival of Lights is a years-long process,” Weavil said. “We start immediately after the light show is complete with planning for the next year. It’s something that’s year-round.”
Weavil used to be a part of the setup crew. His favorite thing to see after the work is done is the displays. And there are so many like the flashing gift boxes, moving gingerbread men and smiling skating bears. Each display helps to bring in plenty of families.
“We really pull just about the entire state of North Carolina and southern Virginia,” added Weavil.
Jessica Sanders is the Marketing and Events Manager for Forsyth County Parks and Recreation. Sanders believes it’s critical to make the Festival of Lights new and exciting every year, especially for the folks that have been coming since 1992.
“Each year we do try to either get new displays or kinda switch up the layout,” said Sanders. “We try to put the current displays in a new location.”
Both of these Forsyth County Park employees have some favorites on the colorful four-mile tour.
“We had a brand new Moravian Star which was a huge hit,” explained Sanders. “It is my personal favorite now.”
Weavil recalls his favorite holiday display.
“The favorite display normally for the staff putting up, we actually have two,” Weavil continues. “Of course they are up in the air. They like them being in the air. The snowflake flake display as you come in and then drive in. And the golfer. Those are the two,” said Weavil.
Crews should be done with setup by November first. Tanglewood Park will close that night so the lights can be tested.
The Festival of Lights opens on Nov. 15. The price is $15 per vehicle.
Tanglewood Festival of Lights brings in 250,000 to 265,000 people every year.