Winter Festival of Lights
WHEELING — More than 300 acres of Oglebay’s picturesque landscape will come alive with twinkling light displays tonight as the annual Winter Festival of Lights kicks off for the holiday season. Recognized as one of the nation’s largest light shows, the display will be open to the public Nov. 10 through Jan. 1.
Steve Hilliard, Wheeling Park Commission President & CEO, explained that, with the addition of two new displays this year, there are 89 light attractions throughout the park which stretch along a six-mile drive.
“New displays include a color-changing chameleon inspired by the chameleons at Oglebay’s Good Zoo, which can be found near Schenk Lake. We’ve also welcomed a new 24-foot-tall Kaleidoscope Christmas Tree display powered by AEP to the show. A central feature at Christmas at Crispin, this 1800-light display features animated snowflakes and dancing gingerbread men,” he said. “Whether it’s already a part of your annual holiday plans or if this year will mark the start of a new tradition, the Winter Festival of Lights offers fun-filled attractions for guests of all ages.”
WesBanco, Inc., a Wheeling-based multi-state bank holding company, is once again the Named Financial Supporter of the Winter Festival of Lights.
“On behalf of our Board of Directors and our many employees, let me say how pleased we are to once again be designated as the Winter Festival of Lights financial supporter,” said Todd Clossin, president & CEO of WesBanco, Inc.
“Our relationship with Oglebay Park goes back nearly as far as it does with the city of Wheeling and the communities that we have served along the Ohio River since 1870,” added Clossin.
The Festival of Lights driving tour is free of charge, though a donation of $20 per car is encouraged. Guests who make a donation will receive a Winter Festival of Lights season pass, valid through Jan. 1. For an additional donation of $5, guests will receive a 2018 Oglebay calendar featuring all new photography of Oglebay Park.
“Guest donations are reinvested into the park to ensure the Winter Festival of Lights continues for generations to come,” said Eriks Janelsins, president & CEO of Oglebay Foundation.
And for those who would like to leave the driving to someone else, trolley tours are offered daily during Festival of Lights. Tours depart hourly from Wilson Lodge between 5:30-9:30 p.m. The ticket price Sunday-Thursday is $11 per person, while the price on Friday and Saturday is $12, plus tax and fees. Tickets can be purchased up to seven days in advance by calling 304-243-4100.
Fun-filled activities for the whole family may be found at the Christmas at Crispin attraction at the Crispin Center. This winter wonderland features a holiday train ride for kids from 5-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Admission is $2 per child. Family wagon rides are available daily from 5-9 p.m. Admission is $4 per person. Combo passes for train and wagon rides are available for $5 per person. This area of the park will also feature a live Christmas tree sale from Dec. 1-23. Hours of operation are 2-9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday, and 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
As a new enhancement to Christmas at Crispin, guests of all ages can explore holiday straw mazes for tykes and teens. Featuring two skill levels, straw mazes are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is free.
The Festival of Lights is also a premier holiday shopping destination. The Christmas Shop, located at Christmas at Crispin, across from Crispin Center, features a wide selection of holiday dÈcor, ornaments and gifts. The hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Holiday gifts may also be found at Oglebay’s various retail shops including The Resort Shop in Wilson Lodge, The West Spa Boutique, Farmhouse Sweets & Treats Shoppe, Carriage House Glass, Palm Room and Wheeling Civic Garden Center Gift Shop on the Hilltop, Speidel Pro Shop and Nature Express at Oglebay Good Zoo.
While visiting the Winter Festival of Lights, guests will have a variety of dining options from which to choose. The nightly dinner buffet at Ihlenfeld Dining Room in Wilson Lodge begins Nov. 10. The cost is $29.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids 5-12. Kids under the age of 4 dine free. Wilson Lodge also offers a casual dining option at Glassworks Grill, and the Speidel Grill at the Speidel Golf Club offers seasonal hours.
Ihlenfeld Dining Room will offer a Thanksgiving Buffet, as well as a Christmas Buffet. The cost is $34.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids ages 5-12. In December, Breakfast with Santa will take place each Saturday leading up to Christmas. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m., and reservations are required. The cost is $18.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids 5-12. Children under 4 are $3.95 each. Guests may add a photograph with Santa for an additional $5. Reservations can be made by calling 304-243-4090.
This season, guests can experience the new Feast with the Beasts dining venue at Oglebay Good Zoo. This new family-friendly venue offers alternating menus of pizza, pasta and tacos. The hours are 4-7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 24 to Dec. 30. The cost for adults is $10, while kids 5-12 are $5 and children under four eat free. There is also a family special offering four dinners for just $25. Reservations are suggested for larger parties. For more information, call 304-243-4100.
Oglebay Good Zoo is also home to Santa’s Reindeer Training School. This new attraction offers 30-minute group encounters with real reindeer. Group encounters are available daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. Encounters are $65 for groups of six or less. Appointments may be made by calling 304-243-4100. Walk-in appointments are also offered at the Good Zoo office, based on availability.
Entertainment is offered nightly on the Good Zoo patio. This Light & Music Extravaganza features more than 35,000 LED lights choreographed to your favorite holiday songs. On Fridays and Saturdays from 4-8 p.m., guests are encouraged to gather around the fire pit on the Good Zoo patio for zebra s’mores.
Festival of Lights also boasts a full schedule of nightly entertainment. The Nightly Cordial Gathering in Hickman Lounge at Wilson Lodge takes place from 7-10 p.m. each night during Festival of Lights, offering complimentary live music and refreshments.
For more information about the Winter Festival of Lights, please visit www.oglebay.com.