Sunday, November 15, 2015

Holiday family fun: Bull Run Festival of Lights

Believe it or not, it's already that time of year again. All the fun holiday and Christmas activity in the region has or is about to begin. This week Bull Run Regional Park, out in western Fairfax County, kicks off its annual Festival of Lights and carnival on Wed., Nov. 18, 2015. 

This is not an annual tradition for our family, but we do go every few years (we did go in 2014. Update 11/30 we did end up going this year). The drive through the lights takes about 30 minutes from the beginning of the festival to the end - at which point you arrive at the carnival. Parking is ample. 

2015 entrance to the lights

We usually don't spend a whole lot of time at the carnival, but it is fun to stroll through and see what's there. Last year the kids had fun coloring holiday sheets and roasting a couple of marshmallows over the fire. There are also regular carnival rides, a photo-op with Santa tent and camel rides, but we only took a peek at these.

Entrance to the carnival
The Festival of Lights will run through Sun., Jan. 3, 2016. Weekday admission is $15 for cars and weekends are $20 (although it looks like they boost the price up to $25 for selected days). You can get $3 off on weekdays with this coupon [PDF], but read the coupon carefully before making your plans as there are some "black-out" dates). Also, if you do go to the carnival, dress warmly. In my experience it's pretty chilly up there in the park at night. 

Weekends usually have long lines and, in my experience, the week of Christmas is a very busy time. In 2013 we tried on Christmas night and the line was backed up at least 3 miles so we drove around some local neighborhoods instead. Last year we decided to go early (in mid-December) on a Saturday night and arrived at about 5 p.m. (gates open around 5:30 p.m.), and had just a short wait.   

For more information and directions to Bull Run Park see the official website.
I couldn't do this shot justice. The "snow" falling on the reindeer was one of my favorite parts of the ride.

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