More than 300 acres of Oglebay’s landscape will come alive with twinkling light displays at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, as the annual Winter Festival of Lights kicks off for the 2019 holiday season. Through Jan. 5, the hills will be aglow — in 3D, no less — with this nationally acclaimed light show, which has illuminated the historic park since 1985.
The Winter Festival of Lights features more than one million lights in displays, on buildings and trees, according to Curt Byrum, Oglebay’s director of operations.
The attraction has grown into one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows, bringing visitors from across the country each year. This dazzling light show covers more than 300 acres over a 6-mile drive through Oglebay Park. The light show, which features 90 displays, is refreshed annually.
New to the show in 2019, guests can experience a variety of enchanting activities suitable for all ages at the new Frosted Hilltop attraction located just steps away from Oglebay’s iconic Mansion Museum at The Hilltop. This magical wonderland is home to the Snowflake Express Train Ride, designed for children, located inside Oglebay’s historic greenhouse, while guests of all ages can embark on a 20-minute guided adventure through the twinkling hillsides while aboard the new Frosty Wagon Ride.
The Snowflake Express Train Ride and Frosty Wagon Ride are available from 5-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Combo passes, which include admission to both attractions, can be purchased at Oglebay’s Welcome Center for $10 per person, plus tax and fees. Individual tickets are also available for purchase.
While at the Frosted Hilltop, guests can also experience the Garden Bistro’s new Ice Lounge featuring firepits, s’mores kits and seasonal refreshments, including holiday beverages for guests 21+, while enjoying panoramic views of the breathtaking hillside. Visitors can warm up at the Ice Lounge 5-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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With the return of 3D Sleigh Bans, the 2019 Winter Festival of Lights promises to be even more stunning. Back by popular demand, Oglebay will once again enhance the show with holographic Sleigh Bans that transform every point of light into a magical display. This year, guests will enjoy new holographic filters including gingerbread men, candy canes, snowmen and snowflakes.
“This holographic eyewear adds a new perspective to the show,” said Oglebay’s Senior Vice President Rod Haley. “Over the last couple years, with the conversion of the show to LED and RGB lights, we’re now enhancing the show in new ways. It’s an exciting twist.”
For a $25 donation, guests will receive a Winter Festival of Lights season pass and a four-pack of 3D Sleigh Bans, plus more than $25 in money-saving coupons redeemable at various attractions throughout Oglebay Park.
And for those seeking a fun and educational experience chock-full of interesting facts about one of the nation’s largest light shows, guided trolley tours depart hourly from Wilson Lodge daily from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $12, plus tax and fees, by calling 304-243-4090.
To Byrum and his crew of “elves,” it’s a year-round labor of love. Throughout the year, his crew can be found refurbishing display frames, giving them a fresh coat of paint, changing bulbs, and preparing the equipment for the coming year.
“There’s so much more involved than just setting up displays and taking them down. Our crew takes great pride in presenting a truly amazing show year after year,” Byrum said.
WesBanco Inc., a Wheeling, West Virginia-based multi-state bank holding company, is once again the presenting sponsor of the Winter Festival of Lights.
“On behalf of our Board of Directors and our many employees, let me say how pleased we are to once again be designated as the Winter Festival of Lights financial supporter,” said Todd Clossin, president and CEO of WesBanco Inc.
“Our relationship with Oglebay Park goes back nearly as far as it does with the city of Wheeling and the communities that we have served along the Ohio River since 1870,” added Clossin.