Fantasy in Lights, an annual event at Callaway Gardens, flips the switch on more than 8 million lights and 14 holiday scenes today through Dec. 30. But the only night to walk the five miles of winter wonderland is Sunday. It’s a fundraiser for the March of Dimes.
Last year, close to 6,000 people walked through the most spectacular holiday light and sound show in the South, but not all at once. It’s definitely not a shotgun start like the New York marathon, though some of my co-workers have complained about a “forced march” at the end of the seven miles. (It’s two miles back to the start, a lot of people take the buses — but I like the walk.)
One of my favorite scenes is the Snowflake Valley, filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights. If there was snow, I would stop and make snow angels there.
I’ve always had success in photographing the 24-foot wreath at the entrance of the Magical Christmas Garden. And one of my daughter’s favorite portions is where The 12 Days of Christmas plays. I love the scene where the frogs jump from lily pad to lily pad and for some reason the ice skaters remind me of a Currier and Ives Christmas card.
“It’s a fantastic family event,” said Linda Szabo, executive director for the Southwest Georgia Division of the March of Dimes, “and a great beginning to the holiday season.” Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 for children 6-12 and children 5 and younger are free; however, they do need a ticket, she said.
The March of Dimes Night Walk brings in upward of $50,000 a year, Szabo said. Tickets for the walk are available at the March of Dimes office, 6501 Veterans Parkway, Suite 4B. The office is open today and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. If you decide on Sunday you’d like to walk, only 7 p.m. tickets are available at Callaway. For more information, call 706-660-0160.
If you’re not up for Sunday’s walk, Omega Travel sells discounted Fantasy in Lights tickets to military personnel for $6 plus a $1 service fee for Value Nights. To see what nights are Value Nights, go to www.callawaygardens.com, click on the Fantasy in Lights information and then download the 2010 Fantasy in Lights Calendar. I’ve heard the trolley is loads of fun, if you don’t want to drive, but a blanket makes the open-air adventure more comfortable. The number is 706-685-1151.