Prairie Lights Has Become A Family Tradition

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Prairie Lights
Photo by Prairie Lights

Grand Prairie’s 13 Annual Prairie Lights Opens Nov. 28

Wander through tunnels of shimmering lights, ride the carousel, sip on hot cocoa, marvel at dancing elves and shop for unique stocking stuffers at the 13th annual Prairie Lights.

The Grand Prairie event boasts 5 million lights spread across a two-mile drive through Lynn Creek Park at 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, featuring scenes from “Scrooge,” the Nativity, life under the sea, polar bears, elves, Santa and an amazing animated tunnel.

“It’s turned into a family tradition,” said Andrew Snyder, Grand Prairie special events supervisor, who helps plan the event year-round with Lightasmic, a professional lighting company from California.

Produced by the city’s Parks, Arts & Recreation Department, Prairie Lights attracted more than 200,000 visitors last year and expects to draw the same again this season. With a shorter time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, Prairie Lights will be staying open an hour later this year, from 6-10 p.m. daily from Nov. 28-Dec. 31.

Prairie Lights
Photo by Prairie Lights

Halfway through the drive, visitors can get out and stretch their legs at the Holiday Village and check out vendors, carnival food and a walking trail, including a chance to walk through a Christmas tree and a special lighted tunnel. Little ones can ride the carousel, and everyone will want to check out the holiday show about Christmas in space and “an alien that comes to Earth to discover the true meaning of Christmas,” Snyder said.

Bypass the Line With A Fast Pass

Visiting the Holiday Village is included in the entry price of $45 per carload for up to eight people per car. Prices vary for limousines and shuttle buses.

Weekends and the two weeks before Christmas can get super busy with waits up to two hours, Snyder says, but no one will get stranded in line.

“If vehicles are in line and there’s a two-hour wait, a truck will go out that says ‘Last vehicle entering Prairie Lights. See you tomorrow,’” Snyder said. The truck will pull up after the last car that will get in for the night alerting people that no more will get in that night. To get the final car through, staff and vendors have worked until 1 a.m., Snyder said.

Don’t want to wait in line? Buy a fast pass at prairielights.org at least a day in advance for $129. Fast pass users will enter at the marina, Snyder said.

“Only a certain amount will come through during that time slot,” he said. “You don’t miss anything other than the line.”

Prairie Lights
Photo by Prairie Lights

Mayor Ron Jensen says the lines are incredible, especially since there were times when the city didn’t know if Prairie Lights would even make it.

“There were times early on that we didn’t even know if it was going to do,” he said. “Now you can’t even get in here on a Friday night. Come on a Monday or Tuesday!”

Jensen gives credit to Grand Prairie’s Parks, Arts & Recreation Department. “If the Parks Department has taught me one thing, it’s that we are here to change lives,” he said. “This is part of it.”

For more information about Prairie Lights, go to prairielights.org.

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