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Fantasy Lights will fill you with cheer

Load the car up, tune into your favorite holiday music and enjoy the imagination of the season

Over 300 lighted displays fill Spanaway Park during the holiday season. Photo courtesy Pierce County Parks

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For the past 25 years, the Pierce County Parks has delighted thousands of families from near and far with miles of elaborate displays that can fill even a Scrooge with holiday cheer. 

From Nov. 28 through Jan. 1 from the hours of 5:30-9 p.m., Spanaway Lake Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland of lights. The two-mile loop within the park will be packed with over 300 displays made up of thousands of shimmering lights; from traditional static displays to active penguins sliding down igloos, frogs jumping into trees, and Santa and Rudolph sailing a tall ship. If that isn't enough to peak your imagination, there is also Santa shooting presents out of a cannon into a bag, and even a reindeer that jumps over your car! 

Fantasy Lights started with an idea 25 years ago that parks could still serve the public during the winter months. And now, all these years later, the tradition has grown to include second and third generations enjoying the festivities. Fantasy Lights' success is largely due to the partnerships Pierce County Parks built over the years with local technical schools who build new displays each year. The past few years they have worked with Pierce County Public Works to install LED lights that help keep operating costs down and ticket prices affordable. 

During the holiday season when money can be tight, Fantasy Lights is an affordable outing. The cost is $15 per vehicle for up to 24 people, or just $12 if you purchase tickets ahead of time at either the Lakewood Community Center or at the Sprinker Recreation Center while supplies last. Additionally, from Dec. 1 till Dec. 5, tickets are only $8. Another money-saving option is to take part in the Fantasy Lights Walk during the weekend of Nov. 23-24 which allows for a leisurely walk through the park under the lights for the price of $4 per person and $5 for parking. Don't worry, there are plenty of restrooms available along the way. 

Whether this is already a family tradition, or you're looking for a new tradition where you can enjoy the season's wonderland safe from the elements -- add Fantasy Lights to your list of annual activities. Make certain to plan your visit, however, as the traffic is heavy on the weekends and the last remaining days before Christmas with up to a two-hour wait to get into the park. Since the 25th anniversary is sure to set attendance records, I recommend taking advantage of the weekdays with less congestion.

Fantasy Lights, 5:30-9 p.m., through Jan. 1, Spanaway Lake Park, 14905 Bresemann Blvd. S, Spanaway,

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