Visitors to the Washington County Fairgrounds this Christmas season might think they made a magical wrong turn. A new holiday drive-through, called Magical Lights Adventure, promises to be "the biggest ever in Northwest Arkansas," says co-founder Chris Berryhill, with nearly 1 million lights set to music.
"We will keep it a secret on what songs are included and let everyone be surprised when they come check it out," Berryhill says. "But we selected Christmas favorites that will catch the attention of a wide variety of our audience. Let's just say the Grinch song has some flavor never heard before!
"And every single light -- over 900,000 -- are synced. The entire show will move in sequence with one another, dancing to the beat of the music. Visitors will tune into our radio station and listen to the music through the radio as they drive through."
Berryhill says he and partner JB Hedrick met through their day jobs -- Berryhill Window Cleaning and Access Pressure Washing.
Hedrick had a Christmas event at his home in Farmington called "Lights on Driftwood," Berryhill explains.
"It gained a ton of attention, and his dream to take it to the next level by turning it into a drive-through experience grew year after year," Berryhill says.
"I first had the desire to start this show a few years back when I attended a similar dancing lights drive-through show in Nashville," he adds. "I took my 2-year-old daughter to it and saw the way she was in awe at the dancing lights and thought how amazing would this be to bring it to Northwest Arkansas!
"And last December we started talking about our dreams. Since we shared the same dreams, with the help of our businesses to seed-fund this venture, Magical Lights Adventure was born. And we have been prepping and building this show all year."
Berryhill adds that "personally, my favorite part is our 300 foot tunnel made of lights. This was custom fabricated locally by our welder, and I have never seen any light tunnel like it. Don't quote me, but this may be the longest light tunnel in any drive-through show in the country! It is epic!"
Berryhill says at 3 to 5 mph the drive-through experience will last 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic. There will also be a food truck and, on selected nights, "we partnered with a helicopter vendor who will be doing Northwest Arkansas Christmas lights tours from the sky. They will circle our show, circle the square and other big areas that are decked out in Christmas lights."
"This is definitely going to become many families' annual tradition," he predicts. "My family makes a tradition out of the Nashville show, [and] I attend with them every year. And I am so excited to be able to bring this tradition to thousands of families in Northwest Arkansas!"
Don't think the partners are finished planning. Next year, they hope to include a "'hang out' area where we will have places for people to park and bring Santa Claus, yummy treat and drink vendors and games such as portable escape rooms geared toward Christmas.
Magical Lights Adventure
WHEN -- Through Jan. 1; hours are 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WHERE -- Washington County Fairgrounds in Fayetteville
COST -- $30 per vehicle; a $75 season pass is available
INFO -- magiclightsnwa.com