PARKERSBURG - The Christmas season brings about some of the most popular of the local winter attractions as Mid-Ohio Valley residents will be able to view holiday light displays in Parkersburg, Belpre, Vienna and beyond during the holiday season.
The first and largest of the holiday light shows in the region is annual Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, which started Friday and runs through Jan. 6, 2013.
The holiday tradition began at Oglebay in 1985 and spread throughout the city of Wheeling. In that first year, displays and landscape lighting covered 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.
Volunteers with the Holiday in the Park group in Parkersburg work to set up a light display recently in City Park in Parkersburg. The Parkersburg displays will start Nov. 17, followed by similar programs in Belpre and Vienna in the following weeks. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
Every year, several new displays are added and a few displays are retired. The new displays are added to more than 60 displays from previous years including the animated "Snowflake Tunnel," the massive "Polyhedron Star," standing on the highest hilltop in Oglebay and emblazoned with over 2,000 lights, "Poinsettia Wreath and Candles," the festival's tallest display, standing nearing 60 feet and 50 feet in diameter, the "Candy Cane Wreath," "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "Willard the Snowman."
The Winter Festival of Lights is viewable nightly from dusk to 10 p.m. A per car donation is requested and will be valid for the entire festival season. For more information about Oglebay and the Winter Festival of Lights, call 1-800-624-6988 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com.
Parkersburg's Holiday in the Park program opens Nov. 17 in Parkersburg City Park with a 6 p.m. ceremony, speakers and Christmas music at the park entrance. Over 150 light displays will be located throughout the park for visitors to view after dark. The display will remain open through Dec. 31.
Holiday in the Park is a collection of Christmas lighting exhibits at City Park and Southwood Park. The displays are sponsored by local groups, individuals and businesses and have included a fire breathing dragon, kids playing marbles, the American flag and a fire truck. Approximately 100,000 people visit the park during the Holiday in the Park program.
The annual Belpre Holiday Lights Festival will begin unofficially on the night before Thanksgiving, as the holiday lights are turned on for the first time of the season on Nov. 21.
The festival officially begins on Nov. 24, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, with a night-time parade at 6 p.m. along Washington Boulevard to Howes Grove Park. All entries must be illuminated with holiday lights.
Belpre will be filled with dozens of light displays on exhibit throughout the city, its parks and neighborhoods through the end of the holiday season.
The Holly Days Light Festival in Vienna will open Nov. 26 with a lighting ceremony at Jackson Memorial Park at 6 p.m. The lights in the park and throughout Vienna will be on display until the end of the holiday season.