Today, NOVA Parks is well known for the award-winning winter light shows. Between the Bull Run Festival of Lights, and the Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, around 280,000 people a year are delighted and entertained. And, this year a third light show, the Cameron Run Ice and Lights, will attract visitors to Cameron Run on Eisenhower Avenue for ice skating and holiday lights. But where and why did this all start?
Starting in the 1990’s, a contractor leased Bull Run Regional Park to put on a show called “The Miracle of Lights.” Then, in 2005, the promoter who put on this show announced that they would not be running it that season. NOVA Parks staff thought that they could run a similar show and be successful. But if we were going to think about buying an all-new light show, we could consider doing it in a more environmental way that fit our mission.
We bid out the light show features with both the standard incandescent lights that were common at the time and as a 100% LED light show. Being a new technology, the highly efficient LED lights that used just 1/10 of the power of incandescent bulbs were more expensive. But it was also the way of the future.
For 2006, NOVA Parks had the longest all-LED light show in the world! And it opened as the Bull Run Festival of Lights. Through great word of mouth, the popularity of the Festival of Lights continued to grow every year. And every year new light displays are added, so it is never the same show from one year to the next.
2013 brought the walk-through Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights. While both are all-LED light shows, the two are a very different experience. At Bull Run, people drive through in the warmth of their cars sharing a great family tradition. At Meadowlark, you walk through the garden lights to countless nature-themed light displays, including many trees beautifully wrapped in lights. The Fodor’s Travel site ranked Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights the number one garden light show in the country in 2016!
The newest edition with the Cameron Run Ice and Lights is yet another totally unique variation of the light show theme. This all-new attraction will transform the popular Great Waves Waterpark and make it into a winter destination, including a popular ice skating rink.
The early adoption of all-LED lighting showed the commitment to the environment and innovative nature of NOVA Parks, and all three also show the commitment to providing unique destination attractions that make Northern Virginia a unique place to live.
The shows start soon!
Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights opens November 8, 2019
Ice & Lights at Cameron Run opens November 15, 2019
Bull Run Festival of Lights opens November 22, 2019