One good way to get in the holiday spirit is to take in the sights and sounds of local light displays. Several good options are just a short car ride away.
St. Matthew 2017 Christmas Festival of Lights
For the fifth year, St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air is sharing a free drive-thru holiday display of 100,000 festive holiday lights synchronized to music. New additions to the festival this year include three 20-foot tall mega trees in front of the church’s Community Garden area as well as 16 reindeer prancing throughout the campus.
The outdoor lights display nightly, starting at 6 pm, through Dec. 31. Friday through Sunday evenings, 6 to 9 p.m., guests can visit the train garden and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies inside the church by entering through the tunnel of lights.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church is located at 1200 Churchville Road. Visitors to the festival should use the main entrance on Churchville Road at the intersection of Brierhill Drive. Volunteers will accept food or cash donations to benefit the food pantry. For more information, visit the church website, www.smlc.org.
Miracle on 34th Street
For decades, residents of the 700 block of 34th Street in Baltimore have decked their homes with colorful, creative holiday decorations, like a hubcap Christmas tree. During the holiday season, the street, located in the Hampden neighborhood, becomes a major tourist attraction.
“The street has been nationally recognized by Nightline, The Travel Channel, the Maryland Lottery, and Home and Garden to name a few,” states the website for the Miracle on 34th Street.
The lights and decorations will be up through Dec. 31, and there is no admission fee. Miracle on 34th Street is located at 720 West 34th Street, Baltimore. For more information, visit, https://www.christmasstreet.com/.
Chesapeake City’s Winterfest of Lights
The 5th annual Winterfest of Lights in Chesapeake City, features an illuminated tree and lighted figures throughout the city. There are several festive events in the weeks leading up to Christmas, like the Candlelight House Tour on Dec. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. and horse-drawn carriage rides on Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23, from 2 to 5 p.m.
“The whole town is decorated and dressed up for the holidays,” said Natalie Scheeler Ricci with the Chesapeake City Chamber of Commerce. “It’s like stepping back in time, it’s an old-fashioned Christmas celebration.”
For more information, visit http://www.chesapeakecity.com/.
Garden in Lights
The Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, in Calvert County, hosts an annual holiday lights show called “Garden in Lights” from Dec. 1 through New Year’s Day.
“Annmarie Garden In Lights is a magical tour that takes visitors on a beautiful trip through the glittering woods,” said Joann Foltz, with the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center. “As you stroll the protected path, you will be transported to a fantastical place of spectacular lights and amazing ‘light sculptures.’ Guests will be surrounded by mythical beasts, wild animals, airplanes, pirates, princesses, circus performers, dinosaurs and more.”
Foltz added that all of the light sculptures are made on-site, so they are one-of-a-kind.
“We do so many things here with a whimsical twist and our light show demonstrates that perfectly,” she said. “Our goal is to bring joy to guests.”
The Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is located at 13470 Dowell Road, Dowell. Admission is $6 for ages 4 and up. “Garden in Lights” is closed on Dec. 4, 5, 24 and 25. For more information, visit https://www.annmariegarden.org.
Symphony of Lights
Symphony of Lights in Howard County, features light displays, animated and stationary, that glow with a total of 300,000 lights on a one-mile scenic wooded drive through Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.
Symphony of Lights is located at 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, and is open through New Year’s Day. Tuesday through Friday, event hours are 6:30 to 10 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Symphony of Lights is closed on Monday, except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights
The Town of Ocean City has hosted “Winterfest of Lights” for 25 years. The highlight of the event, according to Jessica Waters, a communications manager with the Town of Ocean City, is the “Winterfest Express,” a train that takes guests on a ride through spectacular light displays, including one devoted to the popular holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Winterfest of Lights is located at Northside Park, 125th Street. The hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and older.
For more information, visit http://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/special-events/winterfest/.