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5 Things to Know About Festival of Lights

Lake Julian Festival of Lights has become a holiday tradition for many in Buncombe County over the past 19 years. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, the park becomes a dazzling wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday scenes you can enjoy from the comfort of your personal vehicle. Before you head to the show, check out our insider tips!

Save When You Buy Tickets Online

While we accept cash and cards at the gate, you’ll save a little jingle when you purchase online. Admission for a personal vehicle (cars, minivans, SUVs, etc.) is $8 in advance or $10 at the park. Tickets are not date specific, so you can redeem any night of the show. We also don’t pass along any processing fees to ensure you’re actually saving when you plan ahead. Purhcase tickets here.

Visit Early

The number of visitors increases the closer we get to the final night of the festival, resulting in much longer lines and wait times. If you visit before December 14 (especially Sunday-Thursday), you’ll likely beat the crowds and have the chance to take a bonus lap or two through the lights. On busy nights, vehicles are limited to one pass through. We also occasionally close for severe winter weather. When you view the lights early, you decrease the risk of missing out if Jack Frost makes an extended stay in our area.

It’s a Fundraiser

Proceeds from Festival of Lights benefit Special Olympics Buncombe County, a year-round sports program for youth and adult athletes in our community with intellectual disabilities. Last year, the light show raised over $10,000 for equipment, uniforms, travel, and other expenses. You can make an additional donation to this great organization when you purchase your ticket. Want to volunteer during the festival or another time of the year? Fill out the interest form and they’ll be in touch!

New Displays Debut Each Year

While 20% of the proceeds benefit Special Olympics Buncombe County, the rest is dedicated to making the show even better. Last year saw the addition of the McBlizzard Family and Candyland. What’s new this season? You’ll have to visit to find out…

You Can Make It More Festive

Since visitors remain in their personal vehicles, you can make your experience merrier! Listen to your favorite yuletide playlist, bring travel mugs of cider or hot chocolate, wear your favorite wild sweater, and invite friends along for the experience. The holiday season is a time to spend with those who are most special. Festival of Lights is just one way to slow down and enjoy everything we have in common.

Follow Buncombe County Recreation on Facebook and Instagram for information on weather closings, information about local parks, and more fun events.