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The Winter Festival of Lights
November 14, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Since 1985 the Winter Festival of Lights has been delighting visitors of all ages! This annual holiday light show is one of the nation's largest, covering more than 300 acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort.

The Winter Festival of Lights was listed as one of the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US according to AOL Travel. The show is also listed on the American Bus Association's Top International Events, was named as a top 100 event by Eventcrazy.com and was recently listed as one of the top 200 events in the country by Discover America. The Festival of Lights was also featured on the Travel Channel's Extreme Christmas Celebrations and was named one of the top 10 best holiday light and tree shows by HotelsCombined.com, a leading hotel search engine.

Festival of Lights Gone Green!
In 2008 the Winter Festival of Lights entered a new “green” era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED. “We are proud to announce that all the displays at the Festival of Lights are now LED!” said Caren Knoyer, Marketing Director for Oglebay. LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer. “We want to ensure that the Winter Festival of Lights will be glowing for many more years!” Knoyer added.

Christmas Tree Farm  
The new Christmas Tree Farm was added in 2013. This sweet display was designed by 12-year-old Madison Zoladz and was the winning entry in the new idea contest.
 
Tour bus driving through lit tunnel  
The Rocking Horse Display was first added to the Festival of Lights in 1992, using 85 amps of electricity with traditional light bulbs.  The display was updated with vibrant LED lights in 2008 and now uses just 12 amps of electricity.
 
Photo of a Festival of Lights display
 
The Poinsettia Wreath, the festival's tallest display at nearly sixty feet, is brilliant in LED!
 

The Creators
World-renown landscape lighting expert Dick Bosch, a Netherlands resident, and the late Robert J. Otten, Wheeling Park Commission’s long-time creative director, were the creative talents behind Oglebay’s show. Bosch’s lighting expertise was needed to produce just the right lighting for trees and buildings. This is made more difficult in winter when the hardwoods are bare. “Winter calls for special rules in lighting,” said Bosch. “There is a play of light, shadow and silhouetting effects that must appear natural, and is more difficult to achieve in winter.” Bob Otten designed the first five displays for the 1985 opening and until his death in 2005 created nearly 50 additional displays.

Something New Every Year!
Eighty larger-than-life light displays are now part of this glowing show and every year new displays are added. "We are very excited about this year's new addition, another light tunnel!" said Knoyer. "We currently have two light tunnels and they are both very popular." The new tunnel is 300 feet long with multi-colored lights. "Thirty arches will span the road leading down to the lake area," said Knoyer. "We are certain this tunnel will be a big hit."

Favorites from previous years include the massive “Polyhedron Star” which is emblazoned with over 2,000 lights and stands on the highest hilltop in Oglebay, and the "Poinsettia Wreath and Candles." Standing close to sixty feet tall and spanning fifty feet in diameter, the “Poinsettia Wreath and Candle,” display is the festival's tallest. Other display favorites include the "Ferris Wheel", “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the extravagant “Cinderella Display."

Gardens Of Light
The hilltop and gardens area at Oglebay becomes a 4-season spectacle with 150 hanging baskets of light plus thousands of lighted flowers and trees! The Gardens of Light tour begins with Carriage House Glass, featuring a large selection of decorative glass and other collectibles. Carriage House Glass is also home to the sparkling Oglebay Institute Glass Museum featuring an extensive collection of West Virginia glass and glassblowing demonstrations. The Gardens of Light continues next door to the Visitors' Center and just outside the Visitors' Center lies the magical Christmas Tree Garden. Introduced in 2003, the Christmas Tree Garden consists of 30 live trees decorated with various colored lights. Nestled amid the Christmas Tree Garden is the Nativity Display. The life-size Nativity was designed and created by a local artist, and has been a much-loved display at the Winter Festival of Lights since 1985.

Hanging Basket of Lights  
The magical Gardens of Lights.
 

The red brick walking path leads from the Christmas Tree Garden to the Greenhouse, Palm Room and Garden Center Gift Shop, where visitors can find live holiday flowers, garden gifts and silk floral arrangements. The final stop on the Gardens of Light tour is the historic Mansion Museum. The 150 hanging baskets of light adorn the lampposts of the parking area from Carriage House Glass to the Mansion Museum, and also along the brick walking path from the Visitors' Center to the Mansion Museum. The exterior of the historic buildings in the Gardens of Light area are bathed in light, and the interior of the shops and the Mansion Museum are festively decorated.

  Peanuts Gang
 
 
You'll see Snoopy and the Peanuts
gang throughout the driving tour.

Student Participation
In 2004, new displays included two special designs by area fourth grade students - "Christmas Kittens" and "Playful Pup". These displays were the winners of a Festival of Lights New Idea Contest, in which school children were asked to submit ideas for new structures. During the first year over 90 entries were submitted! The " Lighthouse " display, introduced to the show in 2006, and "Christmas Tree Farm" added in 2013, were both designed by area school students.

Peanuts
In 2000, the Peanuts comic strip characters were introduced to the Winter Festival of Lights and the well-known gang can be seen in several different displays. Oglebay was granted permission to illuminate these beloved characters through the generosity of Jean Schulz, wife of the late Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts. They have remained a part of the show ever since.

Link to the "Good Zoo Lights up for You" page

The Good Zoo Lights up for You!
The Good Zoo lights up for you with a light and music extravaganza. Designed by noted lighting animation engineer Carson Williams, this dazzling show takes place nightly on the zoo patio with more than 35,500 LED lights choreographed to exciting holiday music. "The show is being refreshed this year with all-new music and choreography.,” added Knoyer. The zoo is also featuring its annual model train display at the state's largest O-Gauge Model Train Exhibit and the entertaining holiday laser shows at the zoo's Benedum Theater are annual favorites.

  Photo of a Festival of Lights display
 
 
The Carriage House Glass shop has a large selection of decorative glass.

Other Attractions
While you are waiting for the hillsides to illuminate, there is plenty to do and see at Oglebay. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge offers a holiday buffet nightly and the family-friendly GlassWorks Grill at the lodge is open daily for lunch and dinner. The Winter Festival of Lights is also a special time at the Oglebay specialty shops. In addition to the Carriage House Glass, Farmhouse Sweets & Treat Shoppe, Palm Room and Garden Center shops in the Gardens of Light area, unique items are available at the Resort Shop and West Spa at Wilson Lodge, Nature Express at the Good Zoo, and the Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club. The Christmas Shop is open only during the Festival of Lights, and is bigger and better than ever. This expanded shop has a large selection of one-of-a-kind decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles. All of Oglebay's specialty shops are fully stocked for the holiday season. Can't decide or have someone on your list that's hard to buy for? Gift Cards are available in any amount and can be purchased through the Oglebay Online Marketplace.

Hours & Information
The Winter Festival of Lights is viewable Sunday through Thursday until 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season. Trolley tours are offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge.

Location
Oglebay, and the Winter Festival of Lights, is located 4 miles from I-70 at Exit 2A. It is 60 miles from Pittsburgh via I-79 south and I-70 west; 120 miles from Columbus via I-70 east; and 150 miles from Cleveland via I-77 south and I-70 east. See location page for further directions.

Click here for details on this year's Dinner Shows!

Special Festival of Lights overnight packages are available at Wilson Lodge. Call 800-624-6988 or book online!

 
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Oglebay Resort & Conference Center | 465 Lodge Dr. | Wheeling, WV 26003 | 800-624-6988 or 304-243-4000
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