LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (NCC News) – No matter what is going on in the world, a good dose of holiday spirit can never fail to provide hope, as well as something to look forward to and be thankful for. Central New York provides that dose every year when Lights on the Lake begins.
Lights on the Lake is a 2 mile drive-thru event where citizens from all over the world can visit the Onondaga Lake Park and experience a grand display of Christmas lights that showcase all different types of designs and displays. Along the way, families can also see many decorated Christmas trees. And Santa Claus even pays a special visit along with his dinosaur helper at the beginning of the ride.
It’s a time for families to come together and ring in the holiday season, and they can blast holiday as tunes as loud as they want in their cars as they drive by. The event brings about a sense of community that’s difficult to match. For one regular visitor, Alan Hemrich, this is his favorite part of the event.
“It’s something that everyone can do, everyone can depend on. It’s something people look forward to all year long,” Hemrich said.
For Ashley Hass, another frequent visitor, it’s the family aspect that brings her joy.
“It’s a lot of fun, we come here every year, I have four kids, they all love it,” Hass said. “We always get hot chocolate before. It was really good this year.”
Another big part of the event for Hass? The tradition.
“It’s so pretty, it’s a great tradition for everybody, I mean everybody around here knows what Lights on the lake is and I feel like so many people go and it’s just-it’s just a great tradition for families to go,” Haas said.
The event may be carrying the same holiday cheer it always has, but this year there are some new additions to the event. For one thing, a brand new light display showing a gingerbread man jumping on a trampoline can be seen. Not only that, but 30 new Christmas trees are available to look at while passing by. New ornaments and light-up wands are also available to purchase online at lightsonthelake.com.
Zach Fenner of Galaxy Media, one of the main organizers of the event, says new additions such as these enhance the experience even more.
“There’s a new reason to come every single year. And people do come year after year just to look at the same thing, so it’s exciting when they get excited about new things,” Fenner said.
Fenner has helped organize the event for six years, and to him, the best part about Lights on the Lake is seeing other people happy.
“It’s really fun, it’s very fulfilling to just see all these families come through, or just adults on their own, and just be excited to go through,” Fenner said.
Fenner also loves the early holiday atmosphere that the event brings.
“Even though it’s still early November, it feels like Christmas is here,” Fenner said.
Lights on the Lake started in 1990 as a half-mile display of only white lights. Since then, it has become one of the biggest traditions in all of Central New York, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The event has incorporated many different themes throughout the nights over the years, such as charity nights, doggy drive-thru nights, and an annual 5k race.
Opening night is a charity drive-thru night, where people can make a donation to any charity of their choice through their ticket purchase. Fenner said this specific night makes the event even more special.
“It’s great because people can still come through and enjoy the lights, but all for a good cause,” Fenner said.”It’s awesome to give back to all these charities in a different way than you’d normally wouldn’t give back to charities.”
The charity donations make it even clearer; though winter days may be dark and some people go through rough times, Lights on the Lake can always help light everything up.
The holiday vibes in Central New York will not be ending any time soon, as Lights on the Lake will be continuing from 5-10 P.M. every night through January 13th. Tickets can be purchased online through lightsonthelake.com.