The Pacific Northwest’s largest drive-through display of holiday lights opened Thanksgiving Day. Pierce County Park and Recreation’s 11th annual Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park is expected to be seen by more than 120,000 people by the time it closes New Year’s Day.
The colorful light show will be open seven days a week from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the gate for $13 per car/van or $45 for a tour bus. Advance discount tickets cost $10 per car/van and may be purchased at the Lakewood Community Center or Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway.
Featuring more than 290 displays and thousands of sparkling lights, the 2.25 mile route along the shores of Spanaway Lake has become a memorable holiday tradition for families in Pierce and neighboring counties. New attractions include Musical Bear Country, a Dancing Tree, and Snowflakes Galore.
“Fantasy Lights has developed into a signature event that has created many family traditions,” said Superintendent of Recreation Scott Hall. “Our staff takes pride in making this event something the community can enjoy year after year. It is a great feeling to know that we are being appreciated for our efforts and more importantly the public sees Fantasy Lights as an important community asset.”
Earlier this year the Washington Recreation and Parks Association presented Pierce County Parks and Recreation the Spotlight Events Program Excellence Award as the top special event in the State of Washington in 2005.
One of the things that makes Fantasy Lights unique in the Northwest is the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds from the comfort of one’s own vehicle. Visitors of all ages are treated to the magical world of animation and imagination where bears fly kites, snowboys kick field goals, a sea serpent breathes fire, Mount St. Helens erupts, Santa and Rudolf sail a tall ship, and reindeer leap over cars. Holiday music that can be tuned into on the FM dial while admiring the lights.
Several of the local junior and senior high school choirs and bands are
featured on a compact disk designed specifically for this event.
“Partnerships formed with local businesses, community service groups,
junior and senior high schools, and technical colleges have allowed
Fantasy Lights to grow into a major community event,” Hall said. A
Playful Penguin display was created by Bates Technical College staff and
students, and a Toyland section was built by Clover Park Technical
College staff and students. Enhancements to displays were provided by
Puyallup High School and Rogers High School students.
When Fantasy Lights was introduced to the public 11 years ago, Parks
and Recreation wanted to create a program that would showcase one of
Pierce County’s most beautiful parks during the winter months. The
program needed to be affordable, family focused, appealing to all age
groups, and something that could help create a true sense of community
between the citizens, local business, and service groups. It also
needed to be a program that was not currently being offered locally and
something that could become a regional success over time.
“Fantasy Lights is an opportunity for the community to come together
to share the joy of the holiday season,” said Parks and Recreation
Director Kathy Kravit-Smith.
The 2004 Drive-through featured 280 displays and drew 21,898 vehicles
and nearly 122,000 people during the 30-night event. A milestone was
celebrated during the first week when the Fantasy Lights welcomed its 1
General Information Box
Dates: Thursday, November 24 through Sunday, January 1
Time: 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. each day
Cost: $13 per carload ($10 discount tickets available at Sprinker
Recreation Center and at the parks administration office in the Lakewood
Community Center) and $45 per tour bus
Location: Spanaway Park (152nd Street a half mile west of Pacific
Information: 253-798-3330 or www.piercecountywa/parks.org