By Mary Ann Bourbeau |
HOLMDEL – Pack up the family and head on over to PNC Arts Center for the Magic of Lights display, where admission is charged by the carload.
Magic of Lights features 1 mile of sparkling light displays and animations viewed from inside the vehicle as drivers turn off their headlights and wind their way through the grounds of PNC Arts Center. Although there have been holiday light displays in past years, Magic of Lights is new to PNC, and features more than 1 million LED bulbs in its displays.
“Magic of Lights was at our sister venue in Jones Beach, Long Island last year,” said Jorelle Aronovitch, general manager of PNC Arts Center. “They have bigger and better displays than we’ve had here in past years. The lights are all LED, so they’re much more environmentally friendly. They use less energy, they’re brighter and they’re more reliable in terms of bulbs going out.”
There are more than 300 displays on site, such as the 12 Days of Christmas, a menorah and a candy land, many of which are animated.
“Everyone is raving about the backflipping Santa,” said Aronovitch.
A sports row includes NASCAR, hockey and baseball. Animated scenes include a basketball going into a hoop.
“It looks like they’re scoring a basket,” said Aronovitch.
The drive-thru portion ends with an enchanting tunnel of lights.
“The biggest oohs and aahs when we tested everything were for the tunnel at the end,” she said.
“It’s pretty amazing.”
Magic of Lights has been in the planning stage for a year. The light displays started going up in October.
“A crew of 12-18 people have been working around the clock in various forms,” Aronovitch said.
In the center of the drive-thru area is the Holiday Village, an indoor area where visitors leave their cars and enter a tent, where they can purchase hot apple cider, hot cocoa and other snacks. They can even make their own s’mores before visiting Santa Claus. Pictures with Santa are purchased at an additional cost.
“It’s a nice place to come and hang out with the family,” said Aronovitch. “Stuff as many people as you can in the car and come on down.”
On Nov. 20 and 27, and Dec. 6, 11, 16, 18 and 27, there will be a petting zoo from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring pigs, goats and other animals, courtesy of Pony and Pals of Howell. A children’s maze outside the tent will delight the younger set.
On certain Wednesdays, local bands, made up of kids ages 9 to 14, will play live music.
“We’re a music venue, so we thought that would be a good idea,” said Aronovitch.
The schedule is as follows:
Dec. 5 – School of Rock House Band, School of Rock in Red Bank
Dec. 12 – Fountain of Youth, Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park
Dec. 19 – Mondays At Six, Clarizio Music Studio, Point Pleasant
Magic of Lights is open Monday through Thursday from dusk to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday until 11 p.m. The display runs through Dec. 30 and will be open every night except Nov. 21. Advance purchase is $20 for a standard vehicle; general admission is $25 on weekdays and $30 Friday through Sunday. Upgraded tickets ($45 in advance; $50 at the gate) are available, allowing vehicles to bypass the general admission line on weekends. Admission prices are higher for limousines, party buses and RVs.
For more information, visit.magicoflights.com/newjersey.
This article was first published in the Nov. 22-28, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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