Last week Tom and I picked up my parents and went to see Wonderlights at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. We have been trying to get out and see some of the light displays in the area. The radio advertisements say “Wonderlights returns to National Trail Raceway.” I’m not sure if they mean it was gone for a while but now it is back or if it returns every year. I don’t remember hearing ads for it last year, but last year we could do inside things, so I might not have been paying attention.
Wonderlights features two miles of Christmas lights coordinated with music that you play on your car radio. It is a drive-through show which makes it the perfect activity for this year of social distancing. Hebron is just a half hour east of Columbus on I-70 so the distance wasn’t a problem.
We got to Wonderlights about a half hour before it opened, entirely by accident. That just happened to be when we got there. But we were glad we came so early. There were already a lot of cars gathered in the staging area – three rows wide for almost a half mile. We were in the line of cars already backing up on US 40 (The National Trail). By the time we got up to the booths where we paid our entrance fee – $30 – we could see lines of cars for miles in the east, west, and north. We all agreed we were glad we got there early.
The computer coordination of the lights was really impressive. There is about an hour of music and the lights put on a different show for each song in the loop. Dancing trees, singing snowmen, fields of lights, arches that move. One of the advantages to getting there when we did was getting to see the taller lights while we waited in line. You could buy hot chocolate and cookies as you waited in line.
Once inside Wonderlights, we drove in a bumper-to-bumper line of cars through the display. Most of the cars thoughtfully just had on parking lights, per the directions, and we didn’t notice them much as we enjoyed the display. Driving through the lights, up and down on the convoluted roads, meant we focused on just the display around us. It was snowing the entire time we drove through. With the snow on the ground reflecting the lights it felt very festive.
The music was a nice mix of religious, patriotic, and traditional Christmas. The light displays changed to reflect the music playing at any one time. It is difficult to describe but the entire display was spectacular. As we were leaving, we could see the lines of cars in the distance, miles of cars waiting to get in. Definitely worth the wait.
If you would like to see the Wonderlights, they will still be on through January 3. And it probably won’t be as crowded as before Christmas. One word of warning – if you have problems with flashing lights, you might not want to go. I got a headache from the flashing lights about halfway through but a couple of Tylenol took care of it. We were all glad we went. The proceeds from the display go to the Salvation Army so it is money to a good cause in a year where we aren’t donating to the Santas outside stores.