by Carolyn Batt

One of my favorite annual traditions growing up in Western New York was going to the Festival of Lights which used to take place in Niagara Falls. Now, Erie County has revived that tradition with the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights in Hamburg, a 20 minute drive south of Buffalo.

Taking place at the fairgrounds that thousands of flock to in August for the Erie County Fair, this festival is a combination of sights, sounds and experiences. There are plenty of indoor, outdoor and in-car activities.

You begin by entering a lighted winter wonderland pathway in your car. This one-mile stretch features unique light displays—everything from Santa on a surfboard to a canopy of lights over your car. At the end, you can park and enter the “North Pole” with Santa’s shops, a midway for children, lightshows, and reindeer sleigh rides.

While most of the activities are geared for children, there were a lot of young couples and adults there as well.

The Festival of Lights is open nightly through January 2nd (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), from 5:30-9:30pm.

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