Story and Photos by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights returns for its 22nd year with a statewide celebration of the holiday season featuring parades, lighting ceremonies, open houses, Santa visits, concerts and performances, live nativities, illuminated displays and more.
The Trail of Holiday Lights is your passport to seasonal magic, highlighting events and activities throughout December in 54 communities across the state.
Now is the perfect time to start planning your own holiday light adventure. Don’t forget to check the Trail’s Facebook page for inspiration at facebook.com/ArkansasTrailofHolidayLights. You can also share your own holiday photos with us on Facebook or on Instagram (@arkansas) using #ArkansasTrailofHolidayLights.
The more information on the Arkansas Trail of Lights visit online at www.Arkansas.com/TrailofHolidayLights or call 1-800-NATURAL.
Here are highlights from each corner of the state:
This area of the state is a delight year-round, but it really shines during the holidays. Traditions include riding the Holiday Express Pajama Train on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, ice skating at Lawrence Plaza in Bentonville and the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. Fayetteville’s Lights of the Ozarks display, stretching from the downtown square to Dickson Street, is not to be missed.
NORTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS
North central Arkansas is known for small-town courthouse squares that will be decked out with lights and displays throughout the season, in particular in Batesville and Mountain View — and don’t forget Fairfield Bay’s Festival of Trees through Dec. 15. For a unique experience, head to Blanchard Springs for Caroling in the Caverns, taking place through Dec. 17.
Lights of the Delta in Blytheville is among the Mid-South’s largest lights festivals, featuring 6 million lights and almost 50 motion displays along a 15-mile drive. In Newport, you’ll find 125 lit trees throughout the city, as well as the region’s largest private lights display.
Some of Arkansas’ best-known light displays are Crossett’s Christmas Wonderland, featured nationally on America’s Great Light Fight in 2015, and Pine Bluff’s Enchanted Land of Lights, which boasts Arkansas’ longest drive-through with more than 280 displays. Fans of old-timey Christmas will enjoy Marianna’s Victorian-themed city park.
For a truly magical walk in the woods, Garvan Gardens on Lake Hamilton is hard to top, with its colorful glow that can be seen from far and wide. Elsewhere in the region, daytime and candlelight strolls of historic homes adorned with period decorations channel the spirit of Christmases past, and a walking tour of the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover features more than 200,000 lights and a show by Santa’s rock band.
Elaborately lit trees are a feature in central Arkansas, from the massive, two-story trees in Little Rock’s Capital Hotel lobby and the Capitol Building rotunda to downtown Conway’s 54-foot tree — the largest artificial tree in the state. Other favorites in the area include ice skating in Spring Park and strolling through Harding University’s cascading lights in Searcy and Sherwood Forest’s drive-through lights display.
For more information, visit Arkansas.com/TrailofHolidayLights.