Get into the Holiday Spirit

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Don’t miss these seasonal light displays

Courtesy Photos

2020 has been a year unlike any in recent history. With so many issues that have challenged and divided us, now more than ever, we need something to unify us and help us get into the holiday spirit. I’d like to suggest lights. Specifically, seasonal light displays. Why? Because while we can’t change the difficult circumstances we’re going through as a country, we can certainly allow things to light up our lives and enjoy the holidays to the fullest. And what better way to do that than by experiencing the pure, breathtaking beauty of Christmas lights? 


November 6 through January 1o

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville

This could be the most picturesque drive-through holiday light show you’ll see this season! In the span of 2.5-miles, you’ll witness the brilliance of 40,000 lights set to music featuring festive holiday scenes including a giant whimsical Santa blowing gusts of air, the illusion of jumping deer, and a pirate trying to escape an alligator, among others. After the drive-through, be sure to visit the Holiday Village and Carnival to ride the carnival rides and camels from Bar C Ranch.

For tickets:  bullrunfestivaloflights.com

Entrance fees: $25 – $50 per car; discounts available online. Carnival tickets cost $1.75 each; ticket sheets and wristbands are available. Camel rides cost $8 each.


November 11 through January 3

Winter Walk of Lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

This is the ninth year of this gorgeous, half-mile walking light display featuring fountains of lights, small wire light displays designed by local artists, a garden of light, and the Korean Bell garden, among others. The snack shop sells hot cocoa and treats. Social distancing, mask-wearing requirements, and increased sanitation measures are in effect.

For tickets:  winterwalkoflights.com

Entrance fees: $0 – $18 per person; discounts available online. Additional fees apply for food concessions.


November 20 through January 3

Ice and Lights

The Winter Village at Cameron Run, Alexandria

Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run Regional Park, Photograph by Josh Weilepp.

Now in its second year, the Ice and Lights attraction transforms Cameron Run’s water park into a dazzling display of walk-through Christmas lights with an option for ice skating. Be sure to stop by the colorful tunnel arch and the interactive orb field and sing-to-me tree. There are many opportunities to take photos throughout this attraction. Food concessions are available.

For tickets: cameroniceandlights.com

Entrance fees: Admission to the village only: $8.16 per person. 1-hour ice skating add-on: $12.52 per person. Additional fees apply for food concessions.


December 11 and 26 

Winter Glow 

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon

Prepare to witness the Mount Vernon Estate bathe its main building and surrounding trees in soft hues of lights and holiday patterns while guests take a peaceful stroll listening to the harmonious sounds of Christmas carolers. Experience a melodic and historic evening by engaging in pleasant conversation with soldiers reenacting an 18th century winter encampment and watch out for the sparks flying at the blacksmith shop. The Mount Vernon Inn food truck sells warm food and beverages.

For tickets: mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events, then scroll down. 

Entrance fees: $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers


December 18 and 19 

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon

The normally serene estate kicks it into high gear with explosive fireworks that shine brightly against the dark nighttime skies overlooking the Potomac River. Enjoy the visual dips and bouquets of fireworks as they ebb and flow to the beat of the accompanying music. Watch out, because you may just see an unusual visitor greeting guests at the estate – – the friendly camel, Aladdin, is sure to put smiles on faces of all ages.

For tickets: mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events, then scroll down. 

Entrance fees: $20 for members, $22 for nonmembers


December 4

Warrenton Christmas Parade, Town of Warrenton

The town of Warrenton has altered its typical parade by offering a reverse parade this year. Floats will be parked and displayed along Main Street and attendees will drive by and view them from the safety of their vehicles. Keeping in mind the idea that holiday lights are here to light up our lives, the town of Warrenton is encouraging all its floats to ‘Light Up the Season!’ in an effort to brighten the night and everyone’s spirits as it continues this beloved Warrenton tradition. 

Open to the public.

For more information: warrentonchristmasparade.com

Amanda M. Socci
About Amanda M. Socci 20 Articles
Amanda M. Socci is an Alexandria-based freelance writer who loves exploring different regions to interview people and write profiles about people, places, and things. Amanda splits her time between freelance writing and writing a manuscript for her first book, a faith-based memoir. Learn more about Amanda at her website: http://www.AmandaSocci.com. Contact Amanda by sending an email to SocciWriter@gmail.com.

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