Lighting up the Season


Photo provided by Millie Murphy

Millie Murphy, Staff Writer

One of Winston Salem’s winter traditions is the Tanglewood Festival of Lights. Each year, 180 different light structures are put up around a four mile radius and create a spectacular light show for families and friends to view. The showing has been going on since 1992 when the lights first arrived at Tanglewood. Since then, the grand attraction has grown in size and popularity and people of all ages travel to Tanglewood to experience the event.

While many events and attractions have had to close due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Festival of Lights has declared they will reopen and run as normal. The light showing is seen from peoples’ personal vehicles. There is also the option to purchase a carriage or tractor ride for an additional cost. As a result of the venue already being socially distanced, the showing of lights will be allowed to continue this winter season.

The official opening date is November 13 and the lights will close January 1. The gates open at 6 P.M. and close at 11 P.M. To enter, there is a fee of 15 dollars for any car and 35 for any larger van or minibus. The showing can vary in time but usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. While driving through the acres of colorful animated lights, there is holiday inspired music and sounds created by students at the UNC School of Arts that can be heard so make sure to roll down your windows.

Driving through this incredible lights show with a packed car of friends and family is a great way to start the holiday season and get into the spirit even through times of social distancing. 

“I love how it can so easily bring family and friends together,” sophomore Cece Butler said. “I would definitely recommend it to others.”

Bringing blankets and snacks is an excellent idea to add to the fun and sipping on a steamy cup of hot chocolate will block out the cold air of watching the lights with the windows down.

While the main attraction of the event is allowed to stay open, the smaller parts of the Tanglewood Festival of Lights have had to close due to CDC requirements. This includes the small gift shop, S’moresville, and Santa. While the gift shop will be available online on their website, meeting Santa Claus and grabbing a hot chocolate and smore from S’moresville will not be possible this winter season.

 Many RJ Reynolds students have enjoyed the festival in the past and have made plans to venture to Tanglewoods once again this winter.

“I believe it is very COVID friendly due to the fact that everyone is in their own cars,” senior Jenna Kate Gordon said. “It is a very fun and festive place to be.”

While it may be hard to get into the spirit this year because of social limitations due to the pandemic, being able to relax with a few good friends and enjoy the small beautiful moments in life such as a spectacular Festival of Lights is a perfect way to begin the holiday season.