There is something magical about holiday traditions, and there is one event in Georgia where hundreds of thousands of families have been creating memories and traditions together for years: Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy in Lights!
Right up there with places such as Vienna, Belgium, and Spain, Callaway Garden’s Fantasy in Lights is one of the Top Ten Places to See Holiday Lights (as voted by National Geographic Traveler). Learn more about the history of the Gardens as we continue our conversation with Rachel Crumbley, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Callaway Gardens.
Fantasy in Lights was inspired and created by Virginia Hand Callaway, who co-founded the Gardens with her husband, Carson Callaway. “She saw it as an opportunity to bring guests to the Gardens in the more dormant months, in the Wintertime,” Crumbley said.
Virginia Callaway wanted to bring her childhood memories of enjoying Christmas light displays she saw as a kid back in her hometown to the beauty of Pine Mountain, GA. Finally, in 1992, her dream became a reality – they created five unique light displays (with help from professionals who had formerly worked with Disney’s Imagineering department!), which still remain part of the show. And Fantasy in Lights became an instant attraction, bringing about two million visitors throughout its 21-year run.
We had to know Rachel Crumbley’s favorite of the original five light displays.
“Oh, that’s hard to say, that’s like picking your favorite child!” she said. “I would have to say Snowflake Valley, it has all the right twists and turns and makes your feel like you’re living in that Christmas world!”
Visitors can chose to drive through the 5-mile Fantasy in Lights in their own vehicle, or choose to ride the Jolly Trolly, which started just a couple years after it first opening. Crumbley definitely suggests bundling up and taking the Jolly Trolly. “It’s a lot of fun, no one has to worry about driving, you sing Christmas carols, and it’s a lot more interactive. Leave the driving to us!”
Courtesy of Callaway Gardens
The Jolly Trolly runs continuously, so when you sign up for your time slot, you don’t have to ride directly on the hour. You can enjoy the Christmas Village, get something to eat, and when you’re ready, your Trolly will be waiting!
“To go through the actual lights, it takes about an hour. You don’t want to sell yourself short, people always ask me how long it takes – but there is so much to do!” Crumbly said.
In its 21st year, Callaway Gardens has accumulated over 15 displays and eight million lights—that’s enough to illuminate more than 26,000 six-foot tall Christmas trees!
Guests are also welcomed to enjoy the Christmas Village where they can participate in fun Holiday crafts such as creating personalized ornaments, enjoy the heated space and relax with some hot cocoa, or even pay Santa a visit! This year, the Village has a “Main Street” theme with fun places to purchase gifts, or even wander around the Gardens for beautiful Holiday floral displays!
Courtesy of Callaway Gardens
Fantasy in Lights is open now through December 30, 2012, so don’t hesitate. Get your tickets today and make memories with your family that will last a lifetime!