Winter lights dazzle nights


Erin Frost, Staff Writer

Christmas time has come, and the Winter Lights Festival, an annual event, is now open for the 23rd year.

The Winter Lights Festival is a drive-through show of Christmas lights, located on 11950 Clopper Road, in the Seneca Creek State Park, in Gaithersburg. The festival has more than 450 displays of lights. The distance is about a 3.5 mile drive, with a cost of of $17 people per car. Tickets for the event can be purchased both at the location, or online ahead of time for the purpose of skipping the line. “I purchased my ticket ahead of time on a Saturday night, and was able to skip the line and head straight into the lights. It was definitely worth it,” junior Molly Burns said.

The Winter Lights are visited by all age groups. You can turn them into a family event, or drive by on a weekend with friends. “I went the other weekend with my friends, and I really enjoyed it because there were so many displays popping out at you, and it really gave off the perfect holiday vibe,” junior Antonia Roach said,

Down the paths, lights are connected to the trees, lighting up the whole road. There are large displays that stand out from the rest such as the castle, the Christmas tree and the light tunnels. “I loved all the little light animations, but what stood out to me the most was the castle because it was huge in comparison to all the other lights and seemed so realistic,” sophomore Ryan Weitz said.

One issue with the festival is the number of cars attending. With all the cars going down at the same time, the lines get backed up, causing the drivers to go four miles an hour at best. “I really enjoyed the lights but driving was definitely the worst part considering the amount of cars backed up in the path. It took an extremely long time to only drive 3.5 miles,” Burns said.

Although open all days of the week, the weekdays are known to be the best days to attend this event considering a significant difference in the number of cars. The hours of the event vary, but are generally to be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the exception of staying open until 10 p.m. on some weekends. “I visited the lights on a Tuesday night and there were barely any other people there, making it easy to go whatever speed necessary while still being able to see all the lights clearly. I also went a second time on a weekend and was able to see a major difference in the traffic,” sophomore Danielle Berman said.