YORK COUNTY — The 36th annual “Christmas Magic — A Festival of Lights” opens Friday night at Rocky Ridge County Park off Mount Zion Road.
Nearly 600,000 Christmas lights will illuminate the half-mile walking trail through the park. The route is also dotted with five enclosed, heated pavilions that feature train displays, refreshments, music, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself.
The online ticketing system implemented last year will be up and running again, organizers say. In an effort to expediate the admission process, limit traffic on the road to the park, and enhance the visitor experience, tickets must be pre-purchased for all visits to Christmas Magic.
Here’s what you need to know about the display:
WHEN IT’S OPEN: Christmas Magic’s opening night is Friday, Nov. 29. The display will be open through Dec. 31 (closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25).
The park hours are 6-9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 5-9 p.m. on Friday through Sunday.
WHERE IT’S LOCATED: Rocky Ridge County Park is located east of York, 1.5 miles north of U.S. Route 30, off Mount Zion Road (PA Route 24). Park address: 3699 Deininger Road, York, PA.
ADMISSION: Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 4-12. Admission is free for children under four years old.
ONLINE TICKETING: All visitors to Christmas Magic MUST pre-purchase tickets online at ChristmasMagicYork.com. Reservations will be required for each night, walk-ins will not be permitted.
For those without Internet access, timed tickets will can be purchased in person at John Rudy Park Administrative Headquarters during regular business hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., closed 12:30-1 p.m. daily. Tickets can also be purchased by phone by calling (717) 840-7440.
Timed admission limits the number of people attending Christmas Magic, providing a better visiting experience and less waiting in traffic and lines.
CHRISTMAS MAGIC ON SOCIAL MEDIA: For updates and more information, follow @yorkcountyparks on Twitter or find York County Parks on Instagram or Facebook.
ABOUT CHRISTMAS MAGIC: The half-mile walking trail (accessible to anyone) meanders along a wooded hilltop through nearly 600,000 Christmas lights, holiday scenes and five enclosed, heated pavilions. The spirit of the holiday is displayed by using animation, displays, visits by Santa Claus, food, a G-gauge train display, and an O-gauge train display.
In 2019, approximately 600,000 LED lights will greet Christmas Magic visitors. Since 2006, LED mini lights have been introduced to the trail to conserve electricity. All Holiday lighting in 2019 will be LED. The LED mini lights save approximately 80 percent on the wattage of incandescent bulbs while the LED C-7 bulbs save about 33 percent wattage.
Christmas Magic is in its 36th year. It began in 1984, the product of the “energy crunch,” when fewer homes were decorating yet there was still a desire to see Christmas lights locally. In 1984, a small budget allowed for 10,000 lights and props, most produced by the Parks Department. Today, the props are produced commercially and “in-house.” It takes about 6,000 hours to set up, run, and disassemble Christmas Magic.
To date, this is the largest program presented by the York County Department of Parks and Recreation each year.
In 2017 the event set a record high with attendance of 44,615 visitors.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY: The trail may be closed due to inclement weather. The Park Staff makes a decision on any cancellation as early as possible. To find out the status of the trail, people may call the Christmas Magic hotline at (717) 840-7440 and press 4, then 2. Conditions will also be posted on Twitter or Facebook @yorkcountyparks.
TRAFFIC: The busiest nights of Christmas Magic are Friday and Saturday nights. To avoid traffic issues, we strongly encourage visitors to purchase their online tickets for weekday nights when the event is less busy. The Parks expects the heaviest traffic flows on Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 23, but weather is a factor.
WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR: For 2019, the following are new or modified additions:
- Online ticketing system required for every night, Monday-Sunday. Visit ChristmasMagicYork.com to purchase tickets.
- New Santa Claus scenery.
- Additional outdoor props.
- O-gauge train display by Stillmeadow Crossing Modular Train Group.
- New trail themes.
- Light-O-Rama a synchronized lighting program.
SPECIAL EVENTS: The following special events are on tap this year:
- Toys for Tots Nights: For the 10th year, the York County Parks is partnering with Toys for Tots. Anyone bringing a new toy still in the box or container for donation to the Toys for Tots will receive a voucher for a free food item and drink at the Park’s Food Stand located in White Oak Pavilion. Dates are Nov. 29 and 30.
- Pet Night: Scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 4. Pet owners are invited to bring their pets to the event and have their picture taken with Santa Claus. Members of the Friends of Canine Meadows will be present to process the picture and place it in a frame for $7. Regular admissions apply for humans. This is the only night that non-service animals are allowed to the event. Rain date is Thursday, Dec. 5.
- Special Appearances: Meet the York Revolution’s mascot “Downtown” most Saturdays before Christmas roaming the trail.