Every year, homes and neighborhoods across the country light up with displays of red, green and white. Utah is no exception.
For the past 19 years, the city of Spanish Fork has converted Canyon View Park into a holiday wonderland. The entire display takes about two months to take up and two months to take down, said Karen Bradford, assistant parks and recreations director for Spanish Fork. Even though many of the structures and lights are reused each year, the display always looks different, Bradford said.
“We try to change it up every year and have a new layout,” Bradford said. “The castle looks great this year. It always has a different look even though we’re using the same decorations.”
Visitors pay $5 per car to drive through the park and see a variety of lights and listen to holiday music. This year there is a new entrance with chasing lights, giant speed and figure skaters, a traditional nativity and many other unique displays. The display is open nightly from 6-10 p.m. Bradford said people need to stay in their cars to stay safe because car lights are turned off. The start of the display is at 3300 E. Powerhouse Road, Spanish Fork.
Another local display that draws in crowds each year is at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
Sarah Larson, senior public events manager for Thanksgiving Point, said the drive-through display is fun for the whole family.
“The lights are mainly holiday themed, but there are some new ones this year that are related to the different venues at Thanksgiving Point,” Larson said. “We have some gingerbread people that twirl around the road and the mansion, a candy land area and an ornament garden that has all sorts of ornaments. I really like Santa’s flight school, which is an animated display.”
Larson said it takes about 25 to 45 minutes to go through the entire display, depending on how busy the night is. After viewing all the lights, the cars are led up to the water tower plaza where they can visit with Santa’s reindeer and get hot chocolate. Larson said she thinks the display is great because people can see beautiful lights without being out in the cold.
“It’s a very comfortable way to see the lights because you can stay in your car and listen to either the music we have being broadcast, or their own music,” Larson said. “It’s a nice drive because everything is so well lit. It’s nice because there are some new items this year.”
The display is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. until Dec. 31, with special hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It costs $8 per vehicle, with an additional fee added for commercial vehicles.
Giant holiday light displays are also created by local members of communities. For the past five years, Richard Holdman, a resident of Pleasant Grove, has decked out his home with more than 150,000 lights and decorations. On his website, holdman.com/christmas, he said his love for Christmas, music and computers sparked his desire to make the display.
“This was a way to combine all three to make something unique and different,” Holdman said on his site. “The real reason though is because it celebrates the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is another way to express our love for Him and what He has done for us and mankind. We hope that those who watch our display draw a little closer to God.”
Because the display has become so popular and brings in a lot of traffic, Holdman made the decision to move the display to Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City. Holdman said on his website that it takes a lot of planning throughout the year to create the display, especially during November.