November 9th marked the beginning of the 27th year for the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay. This holiday tradition began in 1985 with just five light displays and landscape lighting covering about 125 acres over a three-mile drive throughout the resort. Since then, the show has grown into one of the nation’s largest light shows, covering more than three hundred acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort. Seventy eight larger-than-life light displays are now part of this glowing show.
Four years ago, the Winter Festival of Lights entered a new “green” era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED. “We are proud to announce that all the displays at the Festival of Lights are now LED!” said Caren Knoyer, Marketing Director for Oglebay. “We expected the conversion to take five years so we are actually ahead of schedule.” LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer, ensuring that the Winter Festival of Lights will be glowing for another 27 years.
The Gardens of Light is located in the Oglebay hilltop and gardens area, and features 150 hanging baskets of light plus thousands of lighted flowers, trees and shrubs, combined with distinctive holiday music. Knoyer said that the best way to enjoy the Gardens of Light is to take a stroll along the brick path that leads from Carriage House Glass to the Mansion Museum.
Carriage House Glass, the first stop on the Gardens of Light tour, features a large selection of decorative glass and other collectibles. Carriage House Glass is also home to the sparkling Oglebay Institute Glass Museum featuring an extensive collection of West Virginia glass and glassblowing demonstrations. The Gardens of Light continues next door to the Visitors’ Center and the new Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe. Just outside the Visitors’ Center lies the magical Christmas Tree Garden. Introduced in 2003, the Christmas Tree Garden consists of 30 live trees decorated with various colored lights. Situated in the center of the Christmas Tree Garden is the Nativity Display. The life-size Nativity was designed and created by a local artist, and has been a much-loved display at the Winter Festival of Lights since 1985.
The red brick walking path leads from the Christmas Tree Garden to the Greenhouse, Palm Room and Garden Center Gift Shop, where visitors can find live holiday flowers, garden gifts and silk floral arrangements. The final stop on the Gardens of Light tour is the Mansion Museum.
The Winter Festival of Lights is one of America’s largest holiday light shows. It will continue through January 6, 2013.