The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - 86

best of roanoke

Best Thing
To Happen
In Roanoke,
2019
Illuminights at
Explore Park
Platinum

Gold

Badass Lady Gang

Carilion Clinic
Expansion

Silver

86

MAY/JUNE 2020

 Lighting the Way

How Roanoke's first-ever
Illuminights became a clear event
fan favorite - and a new holiday
tradition.
Illuminights was a clear winner for our
region this year! As the Platinum winner for
" Best Thing to Happen in Roanoke, 2019 "
and Gold winner for " Best Annual Holiday
Event " as voted on by readers in our Best of
Roanoke 2020 poll, Illuminights highlighted
the beauty of Explore Park during the winter
season.
Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and
Tourism's Special Events and Tourism
Coordinator Wendi Schultz says they wanted
to bring a signature holiday event to the
Valley that showcased the unique partnership
between Roanoke County and Center in the
Square.
" Rarely can you find two organizations
who work so well together and whose mission
so complement each other, " Schultz says.
Illuminights was a whole-hearted
endeavor that took 1,750 hours to set the
lights and displays along the trail, along with
527 different staff and over 700 volunteer
shifts to operate the actual event.
And it was just the thing to get everyone
in the holiday spirit. With over 500,000
lights, attendees could journey at their
own pace on a walking tour of displays
celebrating nature, fantasy, adventure
and, of course, Christmas traditions. The

half-mile wooded path allowed everyone to
take in the sights and sounds of the season.
Guests could also enjoy interactive fun such
as cookie decorating, marshmallow roasting
and even carriage rides. In addition to Twin
Creeks Brewpub, you could also enjoy hot
cocoa and cider and various food trucks.
In fact, it became such popular holiday
fun that the crowds were encouraged to buy
tickets in advance so as not to miss out on
the fun.
" We, as well as Center in the Square,
are thrilled that the community has so
enthusiastically embraced this event, " says
Schultz. " And we love that they will be
making it a part of their annual Christmas
tradition with family and friends! "
Schultz says Illuminights was exciting
not only because it was new to the area, but
because it was " very different from anything
else that has happened to this community
during the holiday season. " Affordability
was another factor, as was the feel-good fact
that it simply brought families and friends
together in a festive and joyful environment.
" I loved seeing the smiles on everyone's
faces, " Schultz says, adding, " and the gleam
of wonder in their eyes as they experienced
our Walk of Lights! "
Illuminights will return in 2020 with new
sights and sounds, and plenty of smiles on
everyone's faces. Don't miss a single festive
second - stay updated with Explore Park
and Center in the Square's Illuminights at
roanokecountyparks.com/545/Illuminights.
-Liz Long
TheRoanoker.com

COURTESY OF EXPLORE PARK

i l l u mi n i gh t s

where to go and
what to do


http://www.roanokecountyparks.com/545/Illuminights http://www.TheRoanoker.com

The Roanoker - May/June 2020

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