It's the holiday season, which means lights are everywhere: On your neighbor's house, decorating the local bar, and on buildings of downtown Phoenix. During the buildup to Christmas, Jackalope Ranch will be running the numbers on some of the best and brightest light displays around the Valley.
You don't need Google Maps or even a compass to locate the Arizona Celebration of Lights, just some eyeballs. The acre-sized holiday light display, situated at the Westside Sports Complex near 99th Avenue and McDowell Road, is easily visible from miles away, particularly to those driving on the adjacent Loop 101 or Interstate 10.
An estimated 25,000 vehicles drive through the mile-long route, slowly winding their way past a collection of hundreds of festive and animated light displays depicting frolicking penguins, surly nutcracker men, illuminated trains, and other whimsical scenes. It's capped off with a 100-foot-long tunnel of flashing rainbow-colored light.
Strands and lights: There are more than 7 million lights, a mix of both regular incandescent bulbs and LEDs, making up more than 600 different displays.
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Santa's Village also contains photo ops with Kris Kringle, pony rides, pools decorated with snowflakes, and a Christmas tree lot.
The estimated electricity bill:
Although employees couldn't provide us with an exact number, they stated that the lights are powered by five different generators that use more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel each year (at the average price of diesel in Arizona, that's more than $1,800 in gas, alone).
Why do they decorate?
The attraction is one of 11 different Christmas-oriented light parks put on by Indiana-based amusement company Winterland Inc. They've presented the attraction every year since 1997, first at local Lutheran congregation Community Church of Joy in Glendale before moving to the Westside Events Complex last year.
Arizona Celebration of Lights, 2209 North 99th Avenue, is open Sunday through Thursday, 6-9 p.m. ($15 per car); and Friday and Saturday, 6-10 p.m. ($20 per car) through January 1. Click here for more information.