HAMBURG, N.Y. — 'Tis the season for fun, family, and festivities.
The Festival of Lights is a holiday favorite in Western New York that draws 50,000 - 60,000 people to Hamburg every year.
"Our festival is really two parts,” said Marty Biniasz, marketing manager of the Erie County Fairgrounds, where the festival takes place. “There's the drive-through experience with these massive light sculptures that really take over two-thirds of the fairgrounds. Then we have a get out of your car experience village area where we have seven fully decorated buildings."
Decorations to the tune of a million lights.
This is the largest Christmas festival in Western New York and takes crews from August to November to set everything up.
"Inside our buildings, it's totally interactive. We've got a 10,000 square-foot North Pole experience. And this interior where you get to see Santa Claus is really reminiscent of the time old department stores that used to be in cities across New York State,” Biniasz said. “So even like going to Macy's or McCurdie's in Rochester or AM&A's in Buffalo where they would just have these elaborate Santa setups. That's what we try to create here at the fairgrounds."
Organizers say you can easily spend three to four hours driving through the lights and then enjoying all the activities inside, which include crafts, cookie decorating, bounce houses, and much more.
"We have an indoor amusement park that features rides from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. We've got a whole brand new interactive zone where families and children can help Santa Claus save Christmas after there's a power outage at the North Pole," Biniasz said.
Visitors can even write letters to the troops, which the USO will deliver to those not able to be home for the holidays.