A sparkling new holiday light tour at the Wilmington Riverfront is designed to make the season merrier, in sprite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Grand’s Winter in Wilmington Light Show will run six weeks, from Nov. 27 (also Black Friday) through Jan. 3.
The 40 displays will feature thousands of lights in vignettes including reindeer, trees, gingerbread men and other symbols of the season. The drive will wind through Frawley Stadium’s outfield parking lots and include holiday music and sounds.
It will be drive-thru only. No one will be allowed to walk the route.
Winter in Wilmington also provides a family alternative to the popular ice rink, which the Riverfront Development Corp. decided to postpone this year.
Riverfront Development Executive Director Megan McGlinchey said her organization was thrilled to partner with The Grand.
“When we made the difficult decision to postpone the Riverfront ice rink for the 2020 season, it was important for us to bring in another family-friendly holiday activity that was safe for all,” she said in a statement. “The Winter in Wilmington Light Show will provide area families with a fun holiday activity that brings many to the Riverfront while ensuring the safety of our guests.”
The light display is the latest COVID-defying innovation from The Grand Opera House, which was forced to close its doors for indoor performances because of the coronavirus. The Grand has sponsored drive-in concerts, which provided a model for Joe Biden’s presidential nomination acceptance speech in Wilmington. And it’s sponsored drive-in movies at Bellevue State Park.
“The lights have to be out in our three theaters for the time being as we continue to weather the challenges of the coronavirus,” said executive director Mark Fields in a statement. “We see this light show as a way that The Grand can still be a bright light for the entire community.”
Timed tickets go on sale Monday, Oct. 26, and are $25 per car. They are available only at www.TheGrandWilmington.org. Vans that hold no more than 12 passengers are included in that price. Gates will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Winter in Wilmington will not run on Christmas Eve or Christmas, or on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, who founded the Riverfront Development Corp. and worked for years to turn the trash-strewn area into a magnet for business, housing and entertainment, called the light show a way to celebrate the holidays during an unconventional time.
“My family and I are really looking forward to a holiday light show on the Christina Riverfront and I am sure families throughout region will thoroughly enjoy this new entertainment for the winter season,” Purzycki said in a statement.
The show is being designed and set up by Light Action Inc., a New Castle company.