Holiday lights festival that draws thousands returns this week

Woodland Lights began in the early 1990s and annually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

Credit: JIM NOELKER

caption arrowCaption
Woodland Lights began in the early 1990s and annually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

WASHINGTON TWP. — The Woodland Lights festival will return this season with a few changes, according to organizers.

The holiday lights festival that began in the early 1990s was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. But it is set to open Nov. 19 at Countryside Park on the campus of the Washington Twp. RecPlex, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Road.

Woodland Lights offers a half-mile long paved path of lights and holiday displays.

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Carriage rides, Santa Claus and white-tailed deer will all be a part of this year’s event, according to the township. FILE

Credit: FILE

Carriage rides, Santa Claus and white-tailed deer will all be a part of this year’s event, according to the township. FILE

Credit: FILE

caption arrowCaption
Carriage rides, Santa Claus and white-tailed deer will all be a part of this year’s event, according to the township. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

This year’s event will include train rides, but not amusement park rides that have been featured annually through 2019, said Addie Weaver, a senior recreation supervisor.

The festival, which attracts thousands of visitors, is “a family-friendly event that is inclusive for all ages” and “an intimate experience” spread over 12 acres, Weaver said.

Two “all-accessible” trains accommodating those in wheelchairs are “geared toward children,” seating up to four, she said.

A Ferris wheel and various carnival rides that have been a part of previous festivals will not be included. Passage of Tyler’s Law, which was approved after a fatal 2017 Ohio State Fair ride accident, made costs associated with having the rides prohibitive, Weaver said.

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Carriage rides and Santa Claus will be a part of this year’s event, but white-tailed deer will not, according to the township.

Special nights include Pet Night on Dec. 3 and Dec. 21, when visitors are encouraged to bring their friendly pups on a leash to stroll through the park and get their picture with Santa.

The festival will be open Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 19 and nightly from Dec. 20-30, closing Dec. 24-25, according to the township. Hours will be 6-9 p.m. with gates closing at 8:30.

Tickets may be purchased for $9 at www.woodlandlights.org or at the gate. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The admission price covers all expenses except for concessions, Weaver said.

Updates about Woodland Lights, including weather, will be provided at www.woodlandlights.org and on the Woodland Lights Facebook page.

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