Bright Nights to brighten the winter season


Jennifer Plamondon, Staff Writer

Growing up in western Massachusetts my whole life I thought it was typical for families to take an annual trip to Bright Nights each winter. The older I get the more I realize people have not ventured down to Forest Park for this Christmas light display.

This year when I went to Bright Nights I was expecting to wait in the usual line of cars running down Sumner Ave in order to get through the Forest Park gates. To my surprise there was not many cars and we were able to drive through the gates right away. In my head this made me reminisce about old times when I have waited on that road for long amounts of times to go see this light display. As much I hate waiting in lines, I remember it as being sort of fun. Just sitting in the car with your friends and family, jamming out to Christmas music, and drinking hot cocoa that we got from our stop at Dunkin’ Donuts made the time pass by. The reason there may not have been as much traffic as normal was because this year I went on a Sunday. Friday and Saturday nights are definitely more popular nights and many more cars go through.

This year we pulled up to the gates where workers wearing puffy red snowsuits handed us our ticket in exchange for $21. On Friday through Sunday tickets are $21 and Monday through Thursday they are $18. Arriving there, my family and I started to discuss how much money they must make in one night based off $21 a car. That seems like a lot to spend just to drive around a park, especially if you have seen it before. My mom, however, made an awesome point. She pointed out that winter would not be the same without a trip to Bright Nights and that if you go with a full car and everyone splits the cost it really is not that much.

After receiving our ticket to drive through we switched our radio from the Christmas music we were listening to on the way there to the station WELF 98.5 because they provide a musical accompaniment to the lights. That is my favorite part. I truly think that the right music at the right time can enhance the moment and make something an all around better experience.

Driving through Bright Nights, there are many different themed sections. My favorite is when you turn the corner and see the giant sign that says Whoville. I love passing all the Dr. Seuss themed lights such as the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. Right after that you pass the zoo where it is lit up with light displays made to portray the animals that actually live there. You see giraffes, elephants, and monkeys too. Bright Nights takes you into the past to prehistoric times with a large display of giant dinosaur lights. As you go on through your drive there are many more themed sections of lights.

You also cannot forget to take a stop at Santa Land where you are able to park your car and walk inside a building that offer lots of amenities such as food, drinks, and a restroom. When my family stopped there this year they had added a carousel outside which was definitely a huge hit. Inside, children can get their picture taken with Santa Claus and also participate in Christmas crafts and activities. My favorite part of going inside was that I was able to get chicken tenders and French fries. It was nice to be able to step out of the car and take a quick break before driving through the rest of the light show.

Bright Nights is one of those things where it is what you make it. I have seen people poking their heads out of their sunroofs admiring the colorful lights and singing Christmas songs while having a blast. People also choose the alternative sleigh ride for an additional cost where you are pulled in a carriage by horses. Whichever method of transportation you choose, Bright Nights is a fun and entertaining light show for families and friends to go to that adds a little bit of extra holiday spirit to your winter season.