Prairie Lights brings some magic to the holidays

November 25, 2020
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By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at least at Grand Prairie’s Prairie Lights.

COVID-19 couldn’t stop the 15th annual event, two miles of displays with more than 5 million lights. The drive-through event opens on Thanksgiving Day and runs from 6-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31.

Hosted by Grand Prairie’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department, Prairie Lights is one holiday tradition that won’t need a lot of modifications to continue in 2020.

And repeat visitors will see a lot of new displays, including Prehistoric Christmas with the unlikely and entertaining sight of a T-Rex ripping into presents, a Pterodactyl hanging stockings by the fireplace, a brontosaurus decorating a Christmas tree and a caveman Santa with dinosaur reindeer. There’s also the 12 days of Christmas, with the song blasting from speakers, just in case you need help remembering the days.

Other fun new light display additions are the penguins competing in an ugly sweater contest, the world landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Library, Leaning Tower of Pisa) and the jungle animals. Although it’s a little disconcerting to see a giant lighted snake winding up into a tree. One of the favorites – the tunnel of lights – is back, but this year it’s in color.

“Given the challenges of this year, people need something fun, exciting, and comfortingly familiar to look forward to this holiday season—and for thousands of North Texans, that’s Prairie Lights,” said Duane Strawn, executive director of the city’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “People also need to know that they’re going to enjoy a safe experience, and given the fact that we already have 14 years of practice under our belt when it comes to offering a large-scale, drive-through only experience—plus the minor safety adjustments we’ve made to this year’s event— we’re quite confident that we’ll be able to meet our guests’ expectations.”

Visitors will not be able to get out of their cars and walk through the Holiday Village with the garden of lights, Santa Claus visits, vendors, light show and snacks. Instead, cars are funneled through a tent where visitors can purchase food – with credit cards only.

The price for Prairie Lights is also different this year – down from $45 to $30 for a car with up to eight people. Limo and shuttle bus prices dropped from $100 to $60, while commercial buses dropped from $150 to $100. Prices for Fast Passes (which let you skip the long lines) are down, too, from $129 to $99 for a car. Getting tickets in advance is recommended. Check here.

Lines can back up from the entrance at 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, especially on weekends and holidays. Visitors are encouraged to look at weekday evenings and to get online tickets to keep the line moving.

The two-mile drive along the shore of Joe Pool Lake at Lynn Creek Park takes about 45 minutes, but on busy nights visitors can expect to spend up to three hours winding their way through the lines of lights.

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Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.

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