Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Southern Lights holiday festival, presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Nov. 22-Dec. 31. In addition to reaching the milestone of two decades as a tradition for Kentucky families, Southern Lights has also achieved status as a premier holiday event in the region and nation. More than 115,000 individuals in more than 27,000 vehicles attend Southern Lights annually.
The American Bus Association (ABA) selected Southern Lights a Top 100 event for 2013 and 2014, which is an annual compendium of the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Winners are chosen from hundreds of celebrations, festivals, fairs, commemorative events and more that have been nominated by ABA members. The Southeast Tourism Society has again selected Southern Lights a Top 20 Event among states across the Southeast, and the Kentucky Travel Industry Association annually selects Southern Lights as a Top 10 Winter/Holiday Event in Kentucky.
With all the family-friendly activities offered, it is no wonder Southern Lights has grown into such a well-known Bluegrass tradition over the last 20 years. Kids of all ages delight in the holiday driving tour. Visitors take in the Christmas Village, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Keeneland Race Track, Show Jumping, Steeplechase and the Spires of Churchill Downs - displays comprising thousands of twinkling lights. New this year will be several Wizard of Oz light displays featuring favorite characters Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and the Wicked Witch.
Following the driving tour, families are encouraged to park their vehicles and visit Southern Lights' other attractions inside the park, featuring holiday craft merchants, the KHP Gift Shop - perfect for Christmas shopping, seasonal entertainment and activities for children, an exotic petting zoo, pony and camel rides, the Mini Train Express, model train and dollhouse displays, and photos with Santa. This year, guests can also enjoy an encounter with live reindeer.
The Southern Lights driving route is open from 5:30-10 p.m. nightly. The other attractions inside the park will be open every night except Nov. 28 and Dec. 24-31. The cost is $15 per passenger car Sunday through Thursday evenings and $20 per passenger car on Friday and Saturday nights. The cost for an extended van or limousine is $30, a mini-bus is $50, a school bus is $75 and a motorcoach is $125.
Information on Southern Lights, group admission and more can be obtained by contacting the KHP Foundation at 859- 255-5727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.SouthernLightsKy.org or www.KyHorsePark.com.
Please Note: Some electronic map services available on Apple and Android mobile and auto GPS devices are not providing accurate directions to the Kentucky Horse Park. We recommend that visitors use home computers to access a mapping service for directions, use the directions provided on the KHP website (available on the widget on the right-hand side under Park Info/Address or at the top under Visitor Info), follow the brown highway signs or call ahead to double-check their route. Additionally, we recommend that out-of-town visitors use Interstate 75, Exit 115 (Newtown Pike) instead of Exit 120 (Georgetown Road) to access the Southern Lights entrance at the KHP Campground to help avoid congestion and a left-hand turn across traffic into the park. (Link to directions: http://www.kyhorsepark.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=610&Itemid=336.)