The Shops at Riverwoods holiday lights, photo by Matt Morrell.
The weather is turning and the holiday season is coming. People just can’t get enough of the holidays, and they seem to come earlier and earlier every year. I saw only clear, blue skies and plenty of sun when It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas came on the radio the other day. And was I the only one who saw fake Christmas trees on sale back in September?
While I force myself to refrain from listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I don’t mind Christmas lights going up before the holidays.
These places in Utah Valley will be lighting up the holiday season.
The Shops at Riverwoods, Provo
The annual “Lighting of Riverwoods” will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. Chad Lewis, a former BYU football and NFL player, will lead a countdown to Santa’s arrival and the beginning of the holiday festivities. Event goers can look at ice sculptures, take a free carriage ride, get their faces painted and enjoy performance by community members: Alex Boye, Brenda Burch, BYU Women’s Chorus and the Utah Valley Regional Ballet. Fireworks will wrap up the event at 9 p.m.
Outlets at Traverse Mountain, Lehi
Head to the outlets for the tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16. The event will feature a live performance by Zendaya, Santa’s arrival and a tree more than 70 feet tall. After Santa and the One Voice Children's Choir light the Christmas tree, there will be a fireworks finale.
Festival of Lights, Spanish Fork
The 21st annual festival will begin Thanksgiving night, Nov. 28, and go through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2014. You can listen to holiday music on 99.9 FM while you drive through displays of lights at Canyon View Park, just west of the Spanish Oaks Golf Course. You’ll see impressive displays of flying geese, a ski jump, a candy cane factory, Toyland, a nativity and much more. The festival runs 6–10 p.m. every night, and is $7 per car and $20 per large passenger van.
Salem Pond, Salem
Every year, Salem lights up the pond town at Knoll Park with light displays on tethered rafts. The lighting this year will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, and runs through Jan. 2, 2014. It’s free to go see the lights, which will be on 6–11 p.m. You can walk around the pond and cross over the bridge as you look at floating lights in the shape of trees. If you want to really enjoy the lights, take a horse-drawn carriage ride ($45 for the 30-minute ride) by calling the Bradfords at 801-798-7612.
Thanksgiving Point, Lehi
The holiday lights display at Thanksgiving Point Electric Park runs Nov. 29–Dec. 28, except for Sundays and Christmas Day. From 6–10 p.m., visitors can enjoy the lights by car for $8 or by wagon or trolley for $4 per person. Carriages, wagons and trollies can be reserved, too. The drive takes you through more than a million twinkle lights covering at least a mile, as well as huge animated holiday displays and lit-up trees, before coming to the nativity. Don’t forget to check out the live reindeer at the water tower.
Provo River Cruise, Provo
CLAS Ropes Course's Christmas Cruise is a riverboat ride down the Provo River that runs Dec. 2–23 (closed Sundays). You’ll see Christmas scenes and thousands of lights reflecting on the water, as you float down the river and enjoy Christmas music. The rides last 20–25 minutes and leave every half hour starting at 6:30 p.m. The last departures are 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. The river cruise costs $8 per person (kids 2 and younger get in free).