2016 Update: Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia returns in 2016 to Hartford's Goodwin Park (view directions) for the 15th time. My account of the first holiday light show in Hartford is updated with 2016 details.
I didn't count them when I visited in 1999, but promoters responsible for the original Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia drive-through display of magical, illuminated scenes claim that there are one million lights glowing in downtown Hartford, Connecticut's Goodwin Park.
That puts this two-mile holiday extravaganza in serious competition with nearby Bright Nights in Springfield, Massachusetts. And it also outshines the Holiday Lights show at Bristol, Connecticut's Lake Compounce amusement park, which has been illuminated for the fifth time in 2016 with hundreds of thousands of lights.
It's tough to say definitively which is New England's largest holiday light display. What's easy, though, is to suggest that you see at least one of these glittering holiday wonderlands before the season is over!
In 1999, Associated Events L.L.C. and many Hartford city and corporate sponsors contributed to the $500,000 transformation of Goodwin Park for the first Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia. After a three-year hiatus, this beloved holiday tradition returned in 2011 thanks to promoter Frank Maratta's generous decision to donate the light displays and equipment to Channel 3 Kids Camp, which will use proceeds from the event's run to fund year-round programs for children.
Among the 200 illuminated spectacles that visitors will see at this light extravaganza are a 30-foot tall Holiday Castle and the Statue of Liberty.
With Bruce at the wheel, I was able to photograph the sights and lights as we drove through the original Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia. Get there yourself if you can!
The show runs every night this holiday season from November 24, 2016 through January 1, 2017. You'll be mesmerized by the dazzling displays, and, with your radio tuned to the suggested frequency, the holiday music and warm glow of one million lights is sure to make for a fun family outing that might just become an annual tradition.
2016 Holiday Light Fantasia Hours
Sunday through Thursday
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
November 24, 2016 through January 1, 2017
2016 Holiday Light Fantasia Fees
Print this online coupon and save $3 per vehicle.
Cars and vans: $15 (up to 10 passengers)
Mini-buses: $50 (up to 30 passengers)
Full bus tours: $100
Military Appreciation Night: On December 27, 2016, admission is free for all active and veteran military personnel with proof of service.
Proceeds benefit Channel 3 Kids Camp.
Call 860-742-2267 for more information.