Tis the Season: Get in the Holiday Spirit with These Local Light Shows

You can experience dazzling displays throughout the region in most cases without ever leaving the warmth of your car.


Dasher’s Lightshow
Installation of Dasher’s Lightshow has already begun at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, where the new, national drive-thru light show is scheduled to run Nov. 5 until Jan. 2. It’s illuminating five cities across the country — Houston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Newark, N.J. — and will feature music synchronized to the lights as the audience drives through the show in their cars, trucks or vans. (Larger vehicles such as buses and trailers aren’t allowed.) 

Organizers say that it’s recommended to drive through at a leisurely 2-3 mph, which’ll make for an experience lasting between 20 and 25 minutes. Exact times can vary, though, based on your speed as well as how many other cars are in attendance.

Tickets range from $30 to $50 per car, depending on the day, and can be purchased on the show’s website.



Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
The Big Butler Fairgrounds is good for more than just rides and carnival games. From Nov. 12 to Jan. 2, the space will be transformed into Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland.

The light show spans more than 2 miles and includes a 300-foot drive-through tunnel, a 50-foot light tree and few more spectacles debuting this year. Among them will be a 300-foot by 150-foot field of lights and “Santa’s Beach Party,” a new display that depicts Santa and his pals in a new light — no pun intended.

Tickets range from $25 to $40 per car depending on whether it’s a value, standard or prime night. There are additional options, too, for activity vans or tour busses, and once you purchase a ticket, it’s good for any day of equal or lesser value.

If you’re on a time crunch, you can also purchase access to the express lane for an additional fee. The express lane is open on select prime nights and can allow you to bypass up to a mile of the queue. 

According to the show’s website, purchasing tickets online is the fastest way to advance through the line, but you can also buy tickets on-site — but keep in mind that it’s card-only — Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland does not accept cash.

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Overly’s Country Christmas
Overly’s Country Christmas began in 1956 with a few strands of lights at the rural Armbrust house of Harry E. Overly. In the half-century since, it evolved into a community staple and eventually made its way to the Westmoreland Fairgrounds near Greensburg — its home since 1993.

This attraction isn’t a drive-through light display but rather an old-fashioned walk-through Christmas village, complete with the traditional sights, sounds, treats and things to do reminiscent of Christmases long-ago. The driveway that accesses the paved parking lot is lined with lighted displays, too.

Overly’s is cash-only, and the cost of entry is $20 per family carload of eight or fewer people. Limos or large vans carrying nine or more people will run you $40 per vehicle. Visitors also have the option to park and walk from the Fairground’s fields at a rate of $5 per person, but the walk doesn’t include the lit-up driveway. 

The show will be open from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, weather permitting, from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30. Members of the military and first responders can get in free on Nov. 21, Nov. 28, Dec. 9, Dec. 20 and Dec. 28.

Visitors are also able to bring new and unwrapped toys, nonperishable food items and dry cat and dog food or kitty litter to support various charities.


Pittsburgh Zoo Lights
See more than 80 animal lights with 30 new displays, classic characters and carols along the way at the Zoo Lights Drive-Thru. Held at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Highland Park, the event features thousands of environmentally friendly LED lights and festive renderings of animals, trees and more.

While times may vary due to traffic, the drive-thru will typically last between 45 minutes and an hour. Tickets go on sale to the general public Nov. 6, and the event will run on select nights from Nov. 26 to Dec. 30. Entry is timed, and tickets can be purchased for specific time slots to help with the flow of traffic. Entry will cost $50 for non-members and $40 for those with memberships to the Zoo, and can be purchased on the website.

Remember, though, that none of the indoor facilities — including restrooms — will be open, and most of the zoo animals aren’t visible in their enclosures at night. Visitors aren’t permitted to leave their vehicles during the drive-thru, so if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some wildlife, think about planning a daytime visit, too. Size of vehicles is limited due to the width of the pathways. They can be no longer than 20 feet or more than 6 1/2 feet wide.


Clinton Christmas Light-Up
The Clinton Christmas Light-Up features a mile of light displays through a wooded setting along Route 30. Located at the Clinton Community Park in Findlay Township, the show is entering its 27th season and boasts a diverse collection of holiday lights and displays.

Weather permitting, the show is open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily, Nov. 21 to Jan. 3. Updates on inclement weather or other closures can be found on its Facebook page.

Entry is $10 per car, cash only, and will be collected by volunteers at the main gate. Once expenses are paid, all proceeds will be donated to charity.


Kennywood Holiday Lights
Even if roller coasters and thrill rides aren’t your cup of tea, Kennywood’s Holiday Lights offers a fright-free family event with more than one million lights, up to 20 kid and family attractions, seasonal entertainment and opportunities to visit Santa, see model trains and more.

It also boasts the tallest Christmas tree in the state, according to its website, and will feature new holiday-themed food and drinks. For an additional fee, you can have dinner with Santa, Mrs. Claus and some of their helpers from the North Pole, as well.

Admission starts at $14.99. Tickets will go on sale to season pass holders Nov. 19 and to the general public Nov. 20.


Oglebay Lights
Oglebay’s Festival of Lights will run from Nov. 4 to Jan. 9 at the popular West Virginia locale, featuring a drive-thru light show, a life-sized nativity scene, a 70-foot-tall Welcome Tree, guided trolley tours and more. 

Located at The Hilltop, the ever-popular Gardens of Light is back this year, too, lighting up a brick pathway with more than 150 twinkling hanging baskets, thousands of lighted flowers and festive trees. A 5-minute light show, choreographed to popular holiday hits, will also be presented at The Hilltop’s Magical Mansion Show.

Visitors will be able to hear the sounds of the season with 14 new audio experiences throughout the drive-thru light show, including “Greetings From Snoopy,” “Dinosaur Park” and “Snowflake Tunnel.” 

The drive-through experience is lit up nightly from dusk to midnight, including holidays. There are more than 90 attractions along the 6-mile driving route, and visitors are encouraged to follow the map available on the event’s website rather than a GPS to get the full experience.

A donation of $25 per vehicle is suggested, and it includes a 2021 Festival of Lights vehicle pass and an Oglebay rewards booklet with more than $500 worth of coupons, which can be redeemed between November 2021 and December 2022. Donations are accepted at the Welcome Booth, located at light display #32. Cash and credit cards are both accepted.

Categories: The 412, Things To Do