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This breathtaking holiday lights festival is one of Dayton’s longest running displays

The Woodland Lights of Washington Township is one of the longest-running and most popular annual lights festivals in the Miami Valley area. It will be opening once again the day after Thanksgiving.

>> 7 of our favorite Dayton holiday traditions

“It’s a neat cyclical tradition,” said Kate Trangenstein, marketing and special events leader at the Washington Township Recreation Department. “We have people who came in as children who are now bringing their own kids. It brings back a lot of memories for people, so we have a lot of community support. This year, we had $20,000 in donations from local community vendors.”

>> 11 photos of Woodland Lights that prove its one of the area’s best traditions

Woodland Lights in Washington Twp. is one of the Dayton area’s signature holiday displays. CONTRIBUTED (Contributing Writer)

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Here are the key things to know about Woodland Lights:  

🌲 The Wooded Trail  

The half-mile wooded path is perhaps the signature feature of Woodland Lights, featuring lighted holiday-themed figures and vignettes such as reindeer, elves, and snowflakes, but also regular objects such as airplanes and helicopters. 

The wooded trail at Woodland Lights is full of lighted figures and objects, both Christmas and non-Christmas. CONTRIBUTED (Jerry Huffman)

🎶 Sam’s Holiday Central in the A-Frame 

The live entertainment takes place inside an A-frame shelter with a stage inside. Wander in, and you’re liable to find regional choral groups, a cappella groups, and saxophone groups making sweet holiday music.  

🎠 Amusement Rides  

The various carnival rides at Woodland Lights include a spinning strawberry, a small roller coaster called the Himalaya, and a 26-foot-tall slide that kids slide down in gunny sacks.  

🦌 Live Animals  

There’ll be white-tailed deer with antlers, and a local animal trainer is bringing in silver foxes. 

Kids will be able to interact with several types of animals, including this white-tailed deer, at Woodland Lights. CONTRIBUTED

🎅🏻Real Visits with Santa  

Visit Santa inside a historic log cabin with a fire roaring in the hearth, surrounded by lights and greenery. Needless to say, it’s much more authentic than a mall. 

>> BEST OF DAYTON 2018: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? 

Woodland Lights in Washington Twp. (HANDOUT/Contributed photo)

🐶🚂Themed Nights  

Pets are usually prohibited during the festival, but Woodland Lights will make an exception on Dec. 11 and 18. “People love Pet Night,” Trangenstein said. “It’s the two most popular nights of the month.”  

There will also be a Train Night, where kids and adults can ride a train with an actual conductor throughout the park. 

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🕗 Best Time To Go 

“It depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for,” Trangenstein said. “If you want a less crowded experience, it’s best to come on weeknights. But if you like crowds, come on the weekends, and of course we get busier the closer we get to Christmas.”  

✨ Final Tips 

“Order your tickets online, which will get you through the fast track line,” Trangenstein said. “Dress warm, and once you get here, take your time.”

Get in the holiday spirit at the Woodland Lights annual display of twinkling lights in Washington Twp. CONTRIBUTED

WANT TO GO?

What: Woodland Lights 

When: Nov. 23-Dec. 23, 6-9 p.m. 

Where: Countryside Park, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Washington Twp. 

Cost: $8, free for children 2 and younger 

More info: 937-433-0130 | Website 

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