By Lindsey McGlaughlin
The granddaddy of all Christmas light shows returns to Oglebay in Wheeling, WV on November 5 where the annual Festival of Lights will illuminate the historic park through January 10.
Beginning is 1985, this must-see yuletide festival has grown into one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows, attracting more than one million visitors annually to witness 90 larger-than-life displays along a dazzling, six-mile drive through Oglebay Park.
Each year, countless visitors flock to this popular holiday attraction, but for Cheryl and Dick Jones, it’s a holiday ritual. For more than two decades, their family has traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to see the spectacle, and as far as Charlotte, North Carolina, to participate in their family’s long-standing holiday tradition.
“It’s a truly magical attraction,” said Cheryl. “And we’re fortunate enough to have Oglebay Park in our own backyard. Every year there’s something new to experience.”
The 2020 Festival of Lights season promises to be even more magical with the addition of a brand-new theme – Sounds of the Season – which will showcase 12 multi-sensory displays featuring twinkling lights paired with audio effects and popular carols.
Oglebay’s iconic Mansion Museum will also serve as a popular holiday destination during the 2020 holiday season. By day, guests can tour this historic museum, which was the summer home of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay in the 1900s, to explore 13 period rooms lavishly appointed with holiday décor.
By night, this famous landmark will come alive with a stunning, animated light show choreographed to toe-tapping holiday hits.
“We make the trip every other year,” said Cheryl. “We rent a cottage at Oglebay for Christmas. The most exciting part of our stay is experiencing the lights with our grandchildren. Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent or a child, the lights are truly spectacular.”
For kids and kids at heart, Oglebay’s Good Zoo offers once-in-a-lifetime reindeer encounters which allow guests to get up close and personal with Santa’s flying friends. New in 2020, the Good Zoo will unveil a new Santa’s Workshop attraction complete with the big guy himself, and a new Wish For Snow experience that will allow guests to relive the magic of the first snow every night of the week on the zoo’s outdoor patio.
To ensure the Festival of Lights continues to shine brightly for years to come, a donation of $25 per vehicle is requested. With each $25 donation guests will receive an exclusive rewards book containing more than $500 in money-saving coupons and a 2020 Festival of Lights season pass.
For those wishing to get away, Oglebay offers a variety of accommodations from private cabins to guest rooms in the iconic Wilson Lodge. While at Oglebay, guests can browse eight unique retail shops, dine in four restaurants, snap a photo with Santa, enjoy live entertainment, just to name a few. And after a full day of holiday merriment, guests can unwind with a variety of world-class massage services at Oglebay’s West Spa.
“There’s no better place to celebrate the holidays than at Oglebay,” said Cheryl. “It’s an annual tradition my family will cherish forever.”
For information about the Winter Festival of Lights, visit www.oglebay.com/lights.
Oglebay Festival of Lights