For many years we enjoyed a special family tradition that centered around Christmas lights. Each year, from the time the kids were toddlers, we would visit Hartwood Acre’s Celebration of Lights for a family night activity in December. It was a drive thru Christmas light display. We would pack the car with cocoa and Christmas cookies, put the kids in their PJs, and drive to Hartwood Acres Park to drive thru the impressive light display. It became the activity that really made it feel like Christmas had arrived.
A few years ago I went online to look up the dates and times for Hartwood Acre’s Christmas display and was crushed to find out that they weren’t reopening due to limited funding. The money paid for the entrance fee went towards a local Pittsburgh charity and the organization depended on donors to help offset the cost of Christmas lights and electricity. The funds didn’t come in so we were out of luck. That was the first year we had missed since the kids were babies.
The following year we crossed our fingers that the funding would be there and that the Christmas display would reopen, but alas, year two passed with no light display.
By the following year we were looking for alternatives to this beloved tradition. Last year we went to Overly’s Country Christmas, which was fun in its own right, but their light display didn’t hold a candle to Hartwood Acres.
This year we heard about a traveling light show that was coming to our area:
“Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is making its Pennsylvania debut at the Big Butler Fairgrounds in Prospect this Christmas season. This award winning Christmas light and music extravaganza is unlike any show you’ve seen. Guests simply tune in their radio, and watch the magic unfold as they drive through hundreds of thousands of brilliant LED lights dancing in perfect synchronization with the music filling their vehicle. The lights will glow every night from November 20th through January 3rd. It’s like a front row seat at the most dynamic Christmas concert ever!
Plus, you can catch a glimpse of how the crew from the North Pole spent their summer vacation. It’s Santa’s Beach Party! Come see huge, custom displays featuring comical snapshots of Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and the elves playing in the sand, rather than the snow. Santa can ride a wave, but surprisingly, he can ride a friendly whale too.
Shadrack hosted its first light show in 2007, and because of the tremendous response, has expanded to new locations each year and has continually added new elements to keep the show exciting. This spectacle takes light shows to a whole new level, integrating cutting-edge technology, lights, music, and movement with all custom-built, animated elements featuring 100% environmentally friendly LED lights. Some of the music is even arranged and performed by the talented Shadrack crew.” – Butler County Tourism
We decided to check it out.
On Monday we loaded up the van and stopped to pick up some friends who we thought would enjoy it too.
It was a rainy night but that didn’t deter us. The result of the yucky weather was low crowds… which was wonderful!
The cost for the experience was $25.00 a car, which for our crew worked out to about $2.75 a person for an hour of amazing Christmas fun…
It was well worth the price!
We were blown away. We didn’t think we’d ever find a drive thru light display that could compare to Hartwood Acres, but this easily matched it and perhaps exceeded it.
When we arrived we tuned our radio to the assigned station and watched as the magic took over. The choreographed Christmas music playing along to the dancing, flashing lights was awesome.
The kids all LOVED it!
The pictures really don’t do justice to the experience. Everything is bigger, brighter, a more awe inspiring than could be captured through a lens, but here is a peek to give you a small idea of what the experience was like.
On the way home the happy chatter about the lights went on and on until some started nodding off.
For those that live locally the McCleery’s give Shadrack’s 9 thumbs up!
Check it out!