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Festival of Lights returns Dec. 1-23


COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in our community. Since COVID-19 can spread easily in close spaces, limit those riding in your vehicle to only your immediate household members when attending drive-thru events this holiday season.

2020 has been unique – to say the least. However, a holiday tradition for many mountain families returns Lake Julian Park in December. Festival of Lights continues with all its illuminated magic and more, as the annual event now finds itself on a mission.

“This has been a year in which our innovation has been challenged, but people need joy,” says Peyton O’Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. “COVID-19 fatigue has affected us all and changed the way we’ll celebrate holidays. Festival of Lights is a fun, inexpensive, festive prescription to celebrate the season and make memories. As the original – and longest running – drive-thru holiday light show in the area, we’re excited to again turn on the tradition of making spirits bright.”

Lake Julian Festival of Lights enters its twentieth year with new displays and themes to thrill visitors of all ages, nightly from 6-9 p.m. from Dec. 1-23. The festival thrives from its connection to the community; 20% of proceeds are donated to Special Olympics Buncombe County, while the remaining income is reinvested to enhance the festival for the following year.

Visitors can expect the drive circling Lake Julian Park to transform into a magical journey with tunnels of dazzling animated and stationary light displays. Visitors are invited to watch the lights twinkle over the lake and to turn on Rewind 100.3, the local station playing holiday hits from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Vehicle entry for the Festival of Lights is $10 per passenger vehicle, $25 for large vans, and $50 for motor coaches and buses. Tickets will only be sold online at

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