By Paige Ordway -- Eagle Staff Writer
The holiday season has officially kicked into gear in Southwest Virginia, with numerous Christmas-themed displays popping up all around town. Two of the most well-known local light shows are Illuminights located at Explore Park in Roanoke and the Christmas Farm on Back Creek Road in Boones Mill.
For the past 5 years, Explore Park has collected sponsors and donations to put on the month-long Christmas light festival. This year Illuminights consists of 650,000 lights to walk through. Before guests enter the light trail, Santa himself greets them at the entrance alongside his famous sleigh. There are also plenty of vendors with food, hot chocolate, and even an artisan fair with lots of homemade gifts for the holidays.
Explorers can access Explore Park via the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 121. Tickets are $17.50 for ages 16+ and $6.50 for ages 3-15. Children under 3 are free. Anyone interested can purchase tickets online at https://www.roanokecountyparks.com/545/Illuminights. Illuminights is open through the 30th of December with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Another Christmas display to look out for this holiday season is one that Franklin County residents are sure to be familiar with. Located in Boones Mill, the “Christmas Farm” is a massive light show located at a local Franklin County farm.
The light show has been a staple of Franklin County Christmas for about 8 years and counting. This light show is open nightly and is free of charge, though the owners take donations in support of the Gary Sinise Foundation for injured veterans and takes donations at the entrance.
Since 2020, the farm's Christmas light show has grown from a few light displays here and there to a full-on interactive display of holiday cheer and joy. The impressive array of colorful and sparkly lights covers acres and acres and is located at 7051 Back Creek Road in Boones Mill. Visitors will know they are there when they drive to the end of the constructed road and into a tunnel of radiant lights. The lights are on from 5:30-10 PM nightly.
If you are looking for a fun get-out-of-the-house activity this holiday season, both of these beyond-belief light displays are great options.