WANTAGH, NY — Cooped-up Long Islanders will get a welcome respite from their homes this holiday season — while many events were forced to cancel in 2020, the annual Magic of Lights display will return to Wantagh for a fourth year. And unlike nearly every other festival and event that has been forced to shutter or severely adapt on Long Island, organizers told Patch on Tuesday the drive-through show will look pretty much the same as every other year.
The light show, which is presented by New York Community Bank, will open Nov. 13 and runs through Jan. 2 at Jones Beach State Park. While many concerts and movie experiences have adapted to accommodate a drive-in experience, the Magic of Lights show has been that way all along.
Guests will once again be treated to 2.5 miles of light displays all from the comfort and safety of their personal vehicles. The themed light displays use LED technology and digital animations. Kids and parents will be treated to a Blizzard Tunnel, as well as displays around the 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland and The Night Before Christmas. The Toyota Mega Tree Spectacular will also return this season, featuring popular holiday scenes displayed across 240 feet of LED Christmas trees.
As Patch has extensively reported, numerous events and festivals were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, including St. Patrick’s Day parades, Fourth of July fireworks shows, performances at the Nassau Coliseum, and even Broadway shows.
The 37th annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay — a massive, two-day event that draws an estimated 150,000 people each year — was forced to completely reinvent itself this year. Organizers moved it to virtual to keep attendees safe, including the popular oyster shucking contest.
Many towns over the summer also launched drive-in movie events and concerts, allowing weary Long Islanders to leave their homes in a safe environment and avoid-like spiral into insanity as seen in the iconic Stephen King film, “The Shining.”
The Jones Beach holiday show, which has always been a low-contact, drive-in experience, avoided the pitfalls that befell other events. Like the summer drive-in shows, guests at “Magic of Lights” will be asked to stay in their vehicles throughout the display. The show will open daily Sunday through Thursday beginning at dusk and running through 10 p.m. The show will end at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said the agency was “excited” for the event’s return.
“In partnership with Live Nation and Magic of Lights, the drive-thru light display will provide fun for the whole family in a safe, enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere viewed from the safety of your vehicle,” Kulleseid said in a news release.
A limited number of tickets can be purchased early for a reduced price of $20 with a code at www.Ticketmaster.com. Families can drive to the show at a cost of $25 per vehicle in advance and $30 at the gate Monday through Thursday. The price increases to $35 Friday through Sunday.
Guests are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to avoid contact on-site. Visitors can receive $3 off the weekday fee if they bring two non-perishable food items benefiting Long Island food banks.
Last year, Magic of Lights’ raised more than $150,000 for local organizations, as well as non-perishable food, toys, books, coats and more. Charity nights will be announced in the coming weeks, organizers said.
The popular experience is also held in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut and Canada.
This article originally appeared on the Wantagh-Seaford Patch