"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Tanglewood Park kicks off the holiday season with annual Festival of Lights

A journey through twinkling trails, Tanglewood Park’s festive spectacle continues to transform nights into magical memories
The annual Tanglewood Festival of Lights offers Wake students a festive and stress-free tradition in Winston-Salem ahead of the holiday season. (Courtesy of Forsyth County)

As the autumn leaves fall and the winter chill sets in, Tanglewood Park has decked its “halls” into a magical wonderland, marking the return of the highly anticipated Festival of Lights. 

Tanglewood Park, nestled in the heart of Forsyth County, is a cherished destination known for its scenic beauty and year-round recreational offerings such as kayaking, horseback riding and fishing. The Festival of Lights, which runs through the park’s winding main road, is one of the Village of Clemmons’ signature events, drawing visitors from near and far to celebrate the holiday season in a magical setting.

 A beloved tradition in Forsyth County, the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park has become a hallmark of the holiday season. With its fixed route through the park, the drive-thru lights festival takes participants on a journey that begins in the lower field along the picturesque Yadkin River. The route winds past the historic Manor House, meanders behind the tranquil pond and concludes shortly after the Red Barn Gift Shop adjacent to the charming “S’moresville.” Here, festival-goers can indulge in hot cocoa while perusing handmade crafts and delectable foodstuffs.

Entering Tanglewood Park during the Festival of Lights is akin to stepping into a magical realm. The rainbow tunnel seems to stretch for miles, enveloping visitors in a kaleidoscope of colors. Families, high school sweethearts on first dates and groups of friends piled up in the beds of pick-up trucks create a festive atmosphere enhanced by the immersive experience of technicolor lights and the melodic sound of bells playing in the background.

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With each passing year, the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park continues to evolve and expand, offering a fresh experience for both first-time attendees and loyal visitors. 

“We’ve gone from three miles to almost five miles of lighted displays, increasing the number of displays to 70,” Tanglewood Park’s Marketing & Events Team said in an interview with Forsyth Family. “To make each year a little different, for those who come every year, we add at least one new display to the festival.” 

This year’s additions include a captivating 3D star and an enhanced tunnel of lights, promising an even more enchanting spectacle. Seemingly already larger than life, the Festival continues to expand and develop annually. 

The grand finale of the Festival of Lights is the much-anticipated Running of the Lights on Dec. 31. This unique event invites participants to welcome in the new year with a 5K race that kicks off at the stroke of midnight. Runners have the opportunity to embrace an active start to the new year while surrounded by the mesmerizing glow of holiday lights. The event culminates with a celebratory post-race New Year’s Eve hot chocolate toast.

Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights has become a cherished tradition, bringing joy and warmth to the hearts of all who experience its magic. As the holiday season approaches, Tanglewood Park invites the community to join in the festivities, creating lasting memories with loved ones amid the radiant glow of the season.

The Festival of Lights will be taking place from 6-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, 2024.

More information, including ticket prices and event details, can be found here.

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Lydia Derris, Arts & Culture Editor

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