There’ll be a few extra days for thousands of fans to enjoy the Great Christmas Light Show this year.
Instead of starting the day after Thanksgiving as it has before, this year’s event – the fifth – will begin before Turkey Day, on Nov. 23. Open through Dec. 30, it’ll be closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The theme of this year’s show is “Making Spirits Bright,” and Angel Sylvester, marketing and sales coordinator with the City of North Myrtle Beach, said the purpose of the show is exactly that.
“The City of North Myrtle Beach wants to brighten your holidays and your spirits at The Great Christmas Light Show,” she said.
Each year, new displays have been added to the show, and this year is no different.
The light show will still feature more than 2 million lights – 5000,000 new ones have been added this year - in more than 600 magical displays on the 1.5-mile drive through the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex. That’s at 150 Citizens Circle in Little River.
Hours for the show are 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 843-281-3805 or visit parks.nmb.us.
“Everyone enjoys Christmas lights and this is something people can do as a family,” Sylvester said about why the event has been so well received.
Some of the displays are 55 feet tall and have been custom-made just for this event. Dozens of the displays are animated.
As folks wait on Champion Boulevard in their cars to go into the event, there are 12 light displays to enjoy. The Land of Ice and Snow and Sea’s and Greetings are two new displays this year, and Sylvester describes them as “delightful for the young and the young at heart.”
The Land of Ice and Snow features princesses and princes and a snowflake-laden tunnel. Sea’s and Greetings features underwater fish with another tunnel and what Sylvester called “a surprise.”
Music Land, a favorite, is the display where guests turn their car radios to a particular station and listen to music synchronized to the light show they’re viewing.
Other favorites including the military tribute and the one recognizing North Myrtle Beach – including Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White – are all still there, as is Santa’s Village, packed with goodies.
Santa’s Village will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 27 – Dec. 13, and nightly after that.
It too will be closed on Christmas Day.
Santa’s Village, where social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines will be required, is all about visits and pictures with Santa.
But that’s not all.
Guests can gather ‘round a fire pit, drink hot chocolate and roast marshmallows. Last year there were three fire pits, but to enable social distancing, this year there will be several more. They can ride the Santa Express train, visit the petting zoo, enjoy the dancing Christmas tree show every 20 minutes and enjoy the Elf Hunt Maze.
Dashing Through the Glow, a two-mile fun run, will be Nov. 20, and because of COVID, participation will be limited this year.
“This is a great opportunity to see the lights up close,” Sylvester said, adding that the run is not timed and is not a race.
Participants get a cute COVID mask and a medal.
When Santa’s Village is closed, admission to the light show is $15 per carload of up to 15 people. Vehicles with 16-30 guests are $30, and vehicles with more than that are $60. When Santa’s Village is open, the charge for cars with up to 15 people is $20. There is also a very minimal charge for some of the attractions, such as $2 for the maze and $3 for the train ride.
“Last year, there were 22,000 carloads and this year, we’re anticipating even more,” Sylvester said. She added that because of COVID-19, “everybody wants to get out of the house.
“The Great Christmas Light Show is really a magical experience, and it’s all about the things you think about when you think about Christmas.”