There’s Plenty of Sparkle with the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights
December means the Trail of Holiday of Lights in Arkansas. More than 60 communities around the state take part annually, brightening the holiday season for all to see.
The brochure is now available both online and in printed version. Whichever you prefer, get a copy and start planning your trip or trips. New this year in the electronic copy is a contest where we need your input and suggested itineraries for the different areas of the state. Take one trip or take them all. There’ll be lights, lights, and more lights waiting for you. Watch our winter wonderland video then come up with a name for our Holiday Hog. You can even see him in person at several celebrations around the state.
These suggested routes include one day and overnight trips so you have a variety to choose from. Not only will you see the lights of Christmas shine, there are also suggestions for additional things to do while you’re in the area. Twenty-one communities in the Northwest Arkansas area are participating and the events run the gamut from the huge Lights of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, complete with live camel rides to ice skating at the outdoor rink in Bentonville. In Jasper you can get a look at “Arkansas Reindeer” — the elk living around the Buffalo National River. Fort Smith offers miniature train rides while Ozark has horse and buggy rides.
In North Central Arkansas, Batesville shines with over a half-million lights throughout downtown. Ark. 178 and the city limits of Bull Shoals will be twinkling as will Cotter and Gassville. The striking Cleburne County Courthouse in Heber Springs is decked out again this year as is the historic court square in Mountain View. If you’re in town on the appropriate dates in Mountain View, available in the brochure, you can listen to the glorious sounds of Caroling in the Caverns at Blanchard Springs.
One of the largest such displays in The Natural State is based in the Northeast corner of Arkansas. The Lights of the Delta are Blytheville’s contribution with six-million sparklers and more than 48 major motion displays. The drive-thru covers 40-acres; hayrides are also offered. Santa will have bags of candy for every good little boy and girl in Corning that comes to see him during their holiday celebration. Newport will be welcoming performers from the historic Palace Theatre in Manchester, New Hampshire as they present “A Christmas Carol.”
The Southwest area boasts 13 events along the trail. Courthouses, town squares, parades, city parks, and streets will be glowing for the season. Historic Washington State Park lights its preserved cityscape with luminaries and offers candlelight tours. Hot Springs festoons its historic downtown with lights with Garvan Woodland Gardens featuring more than four-million lights. A 50-foot-tall rose tree stands as the garden’s focal point. In Prescott you can have breakfast with Santa, while in El Dorado you can drive under one of the largest man-made Christmas trees in Arkansas.
The Arkansas State Capitol lighting is a tradition dating back 75 years. The Big Jingle Jubilee Parade ends at the capitol for the throwing of the switch by Secretary of State Mark Martin. New in Little Rock is the light show at the First Security Amphitheater in Riverfront Park that will be choreographed with animation and music. The River Lights in the Rock will once again be in holiday colors. Both Sherwood and North Little Rock’s Burns Park have drive-through displays.