Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Prairie Lights offers walking and driving tours all a ’twinkle

The lights are back at Prairie Lights, a popular drive-through holiday light display located in Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake, 5700 Lake Ridge Parkway, in Grand Prairie.
The lights are back at Prairie Lights, a popular drive-through holiday light display located in Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake, 5700 Lake Ridge Parkway, in Grand Prairie. Star-Telegram archives

What do Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have in common with the Prairie Lights Christmas show in Grand Prairie? Each of these celebs chose clever circumstances to reveal their baby’s gender, but none holds a candle to the baby reveal that happened recently at this local holiday attraction.

On a recent night, an expectant couple from the Dallas-Fort Worth area gathered friends and family in the amazing Holiday Magic Walk-through Forest at Prairie Lights for a party centered around their much anticipated announcement.

In the magical setting of the lighted winter wonderland, the couple opened a gigantic Christmas gift that released a flood of blue balloons to announce that a baby boy would soon join the family.

Mae Smith, the coordinator behind the Prairie Lights park show, said it was the first baby reveal event at the park. “There’s no place more unique than the wonderful meandering path in our walk-through section for special occasions,” Smith said. “During the past 11 years, we’ve had 24 marriage proposals — three of them this year. And couples even come back here for their anniversaries.”

The main event is the 2-mile drive through at the park featuring 4 million lights. It attracted nearly 200,000 visitors last year, and similar results are expected with the all-new displays that Josh Barnett Productions from Bakersfield, Calif., has created this year.

Smith said guests are dazzled by the clever new themes like the Steampunk Christmas and the Space Christmas themed areas that feature “Star Wars” displays and even a Yeti village.

An new laser show inside the Holiday Village Theater (where it snows on the audience) is easily the second-most-popular attraction at this year’s Prairie Lights.

“We have theater-style and bleacher seating for the laser phenomenon that features a story about Santa searching for an alien to fulfill a little boy’s Christmas wish,” Smith said.

In order to bring an entirely new experience each year, Smith said partnerships with similar parks in Round Rock and Sugar Land, and in Costa Mesa, Calif., were formed. The Grand Prairie displays move on to these cities after their debut at Prairie Lights.

In addition to the Walk-through Forest where enchanting lighted scenes depict how the holiday season is celebrated around the world (don’t miss Gumdrop Alley), other out-of-car experiences in the Holiday Village include a chance to visit Santa and rides on a twirling Dumbo or a carousel— all at no charge beyond the admission fee.

The Grand Prairie Chamber is offering photos with Santa for a small charge to raise money for local charities. Concessions are also available.

When asked her favorite, Smith said: “For me it’s the segment just before you reach the incredible tunnel of lights near the end of the tour.

“It’s called Poinsettia Land and has the most vibrant, spectacular poinsettia displays. There is a magnificent deer at the end of the road with his antlers all covered in poinsettias. Right after this, we have our beautiful Happy New Year display, and the very last thing is our display that honors our folks in military service.”

Prairie Lights definitely offers an epic holiday experience, and the best way to get the maximum pleasure is to visit on Monday through Thursday early in the evening when lines are much shorter than on weekends.

Visit www.PrairieLights.org to get directions and admission prices. Be sure to search for discount coupons on Facebook and Twitter before you go. The park is on the shores of Joe Pool Lake in Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, and it is open through New Year’s Day.

Briefly

The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth will present the Borromeo String Quartet in concert at 2 p.m. Jan 7 in the auditorium of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The popular pre-concert conversation begins at 1:15 p.m. The quartet is the first string quartet to use laptop computers on the concert stage with the artists performing from four-part scores and composers’ manuscripts.

They will perform selections from Haydn, Mozart, Gershwin and Ravel. Tickets at the door or in advance by calling 817-877-3003 or online at www.chambermusicFW.org.

SafeHaven’s Santa’s Sack gift drive will accept donations through Monday. The drive collects donations of gifts for kids and moms residing at the shelter in hopes of bringing the comforts of home to families affected by domestic violence.

Women often leave everything behind to find safety at SafeHaven of Tarrant County. Santa’s Sack donations allow moms and children staying at SafeHaven shelters to select special gifts for each other at the Christmas Store (at no cost, of course). Gifts are then carefully wrapped by SafeHaven’s volunteer elves and delivered by Santa on Christmas morning.

Drop-off locations are Lincoln Square Shopping Center (by Stein Mart) in Arlington and at the West 7th Shopping District, 2913 Crockett St., in Fort Worth, in the space that was formerly Teskey’s. Learn more by contacting Krista Moffett at kmoffett@safehaventc.org or call 817-502-7154.

A “Shout Out” to Waste Connections in Haltom City for donating 140 new bicycles and helmets to Major Cheney Elementary School. In conjunction with the city’s 16th Annual Christmas Promise Bike Build, the staff at Waste Management raised money, purchased and built 140 new bicycles and helmets for students at Major Cheney.

A 70-piece hand-carved and hand-painted Nativity from Italy is the centerpiece exhibit at the Christian Arts Museum. Also on display are more than 50 nativities from around the world. The massive collection headlining the holiday exhibit was formerly displayed in a Fort Worth home for many years. The museum is at 3221 Hamilton Ave., and admission is free. Last day to see the exhibit is Jan. 7; and the museum is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, call 817- 332-7878.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you for reading Social Eyes during 2016, and I look forward to getting your news tips during 2017 so that charity events and programs can get the attention they so richly deserve.

Please send your SocialEyes news tips to freeder@star-telegram.com. Keep up with even more community news by liking our page on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Twitter: @FayeReeder

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