Valley of Lights a wonder to behold and family favorite
Roasted turkey is but one tradition followed on Thanksgiving Day. The opening night of Valley of Lights in Prescott Valley is another.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 22, the one-mile drive opens to the public, and remains open every night until 10 p.m. through Dec. 30.
Viewers will find 59 lighted displays using thousands of lights. Every other year, people can look for one new display. But this year, the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce refurbished several displays to make them “brighter and better,” said Gloria Grose, Chamber Operations and Event manager.
The route begins at the Tin Soldier on Highway 69 and Prescott East Highway. Turn left on 2nd Street and right on 5th Street and follow the cars around the parking lot of Fain Park and through the 8,000-light Holly Tunnel.
Two other tunnels are equally popular among the displays: the 120-ft.-long Snowflake Tunnel with more than 7,000 lights and the Candy Cane Tunnel, 40 feet in length, which uses 4,000 lights.
Some people turn off their headlights, which is appreciated by viewers in other cars; others have vehicles that can’t turn off with nighttime driving.
“Take it slow and easy and don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy the experience,” Grose advises.
Chamber volunteers will accept donations at the front and end of the route, and they still have a few slots for volunteers. Leslie and Richard Adler often man the booth on Christmas Eve and another family does the same on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve traditionally attracts more than 1,000 cars. Grose and her family, including grandchildren, will volunteer Thanksgiving evening.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Come out and enjoy,” Grose said.
2ND ANNUAL STROLL
This past year’s inaugural event proved unexpectedly popular. The Second Annual Stroll through the Valley of Lights, when vehicles are prohibited on the one-mile route, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. for one evening only, Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Strollers, wheelchairs and perhaps Segways, are the only wheeled “vehicles” allowed, along with people walking – or strolling. Motorized vehicles and dogs are prohibited.
Several Valley of Lights sponsors will offer hot chocolate during the evening, and carolers will be out and about.
Park vehicles at business locations along 2nd Street, said Gloria Grose, Chamber Operations and Event manager. Then walk to 5th Street, down and through the route. It is one mile long, Grose reminds walkers, so make sure you wear sturdy shoes and dress warmly.
“At the end, we have volunteers with donated vans to take walkers back to cars,” she said.
Etiquette for walkers: Stay on the roadway inside the rope lights, and don’t let the kids climb on the lights.
Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at email@example.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.