The holiday season as a time for food, gifts and family are typically the most popular thoughts but there’s another aspect of the holidays that is too prevalent in our society to ignore: winter lights. These luminescent displays of color and brightness are a staple of the holiday time and should be appreciated more than they currently are. The Seneca Park Winter Lights, for example, are a county specialty that never fails to dazzle.
Located along the scenic routes through Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, the 350+ displays of light and architecture encapture the spirit of the holiday season like no other event in the area. Visitors of the Winter Lights have the ability to travel down a 3.5 mile stretch surrounded by impressive feats of creativity, all constructed from a colorful array of lights.
The Winter Lights are non-secular, not preferring one of the major late-December holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas, over the other. Additionally, the Winter Lights are typically accompanied by a theme that many of its displays are inspired by. According to trippsavvy.com, “making its debut this year is a new frog prince display, nestled amongst traditional festival favorites that include a Fantasy Castle and magical unicorn fountain, Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village and the North Pole.”
The Winter Lights are celebrating their 22nd birthday this year and, since its conception in 1995, have been a tradition in Montgomery County that anyone can enjoy. From families to friends, the lights are purposely designed to spread holiday cheer to all.
The lights are affordable as prices include the low cost of $12 per car on Mondays-Thursdays and $15 per car on Fridays-Sundays. This income not only helps fund the park itself but a portion of it is donated to local charities such as Campus Kitchen at the Universities at Shady Grove, Donation Nation Inc. and the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation.
The Winter Lights remain a popular holiday destination for students at this school, with some showing appreciation for the effort put into the displays. “I still enjoy seeing the Winter Lights every year because it’s just really amazing how the park sets everything up,” junior Shao Hou said.