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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Fantasy in Lights

In Pine Mountain, Georgia, about 1 1/2 hours south of Atlanta lies Callaway Gardens. A place worthy of visit for the gardens that lie within alone. But, each year they put on a Festival of Lights called Fantasy in Lights.


This started out in 1992 as a small light display of just 5 scenes. It has grown to 18 scenes now along with the accompanying pre-lights displays, Christmas Market, and Christmas Village. The cost has also exploded with the growth. It is possible to drive your vehicle through the wooded light show or you can take the trolley bus. The cost of a self-drive has gone from what used to be $20 per carload to now up to $35 per person! Yeah, for a family if 4 that is a 7 times increase.


The admission includes one free day in the park during the day to enjoy things such as the Butterfly Garden, the Horticulture center, the Log Cabin, the Church in the Woods, and other tranquil scenery. But the main attraction starts at dark.


You have a scheduled time slot to either drive through with your vehicle or hop on the trolley. I find the trolley more enjoyable with children as they can sing along with the rest of the trolley riders as they play their Christmas songs. But without kids, I would opt for the warmer route of the self-drive.


Before the drive through the wooded park there are a number of lighted walk through displays.



The drive consists of a number of themed scenes including: Toyland, Winter Wonderland, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and lots of others. All set to music and lights.



This is the greatest light show by far I've ever experienced. No close seconds. I've driven through a popular one in Knoxville, but it pales in comparison.


Now this place is a case where more is less. They've added so much over the nearly 30 years I've visited here that it's just too much! The added attractions have led to mobs of people in attendance. You need to reserve well in advance. And I already mentioned the 7 fold increase in price!


I mean, whether I'm driving through 8 scenes or 16 scenes, the added experience is not proportional to the increase in price or crowd. To me, simplicity is the key. Now it's just gotten too complicated with the parking and queuing for the trolley.


Also, in the early days they had simple local choirs sing beneath the tent. You would sit in one of the provided chairs with maybe 50-75 in attendance and listen to the Christmas music. They've stopped that. Now they have a Santa for the kids to visit with 30-45 minute wait times. Who needs the stress of waiting lines that long with a toddler?


I've enjoyed this place over the decades but, like Disneyland, I really don't care to return.




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Roger Wells
Roger Wells
Feb 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

The grandkids would love this place. ❤️

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Kirk
Kirk
Feb 26
Replying to

👍

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
Feb 24
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Santa's Village has a time at Christmas that you ride the rides and enjoy the Christmas scenery. It was a great time when my family visited. There's also Botanical gardens where they decorate trees and shrubbery with different scenery. It's a walk through area . The price for both places did not seem to outrageous

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Kirk
Kirk
Feb 24
Replying to

I’ve been to the one near Boothbay but never NH in the winter. Too cold for me now up there!

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