Explore Christmas in your car

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    By CLAUDIA LORENZANA and EMELY ARROYO

    With the winter temperatures dropping more each day, Utah residents can now enjoy spectacular Christmas lights in the luxury of their own heated cars.

    Spanish Fork’s fifth annual “Festival of Lights,” Utah’s only drive-through lights festival, begins on Thanksgiving and runs every night through Jan. 1.

    This year’s festival, which had a sneak preview last week, presents over 200,000 lights, including several of the old displays, along with new attractions.

    One of the new displays was created due to the huge response to a tree included in last year’s festival. The tree this year will be decorated with over 17,500 pink lights.

    “I really liked the big, huge reddish-pink tree because it has a nice design,” said Brian Woodhouse, 31, a Salt Lake resident.

    Another added display, lights portraying a family of whales, accompanies a flock of swans and a green dragon floating on the pond. In the middle of the pond, a water fountain sprays over 20 feet high. Its base, full of changing colors, illuminates the entire pond.

    Spectators especially enjoyed this new attraction. “I liked how the whales moved in the pond, the way the fountain changed colors and how the birds really flapped their wings,” said Garrett Hurst, 19, a Spanish Fork resident.

    “I really enjoyed the water on the lake and the dragon because they are unique,” said Paul Brumfield, a Spanish Fork resident.

    Another new display consists of ten three-dimensional deer prancing in the midst of colorfully lit trees with a flock of geese flying overhead. “I liked the three-dimensional deer because it gave it (the festival) a very natural feeling,” said Andy Ericson, a Heber resident.

    However, overall the “Festival of Lights” appeals to people for different reasons. It captures the holiday feelings for some, while it creates romantic opportunities for others.

    “My favorite part of the lights is the village with the house because it reminds me of an old-fashioned Christmas,” said Heather Woodhouse, a freshman at Utah Valley State College.

    “The festival of lights was a good way to get my family ready to experience the spirit of Christmas … the lights helped remind us that we should always be reflecting the light of Christ,” said LaRita Gibbons, a Panguitch resident.

    “This would be a great date activity … you can sit really close to your girls,” said Mark Fisher, a freshman from Los Angeles, Calif., majoring in business.

    All the funds collected from this attraction will benefit Spanish Fork. “Because we are a non-profit organization as a city, all the money goes right back into the park,” said Mary-Clare Maslyn, assistant city manager.

    The cost is $5 per carload. For more information, people can contact Spanish Fork City at 798-5000 or visit their website at www.spanishfork.org.

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