IRWINDALE, Calif. — Most would expect to drive fast at a racetrack, but at Santa's Speedway, cars have a speed limit of 5 miles an hour — just slow enough to enjoy the sights and sounds at Irwindale Speedway.
“We knew we had to have a tunnel,” said Opteyndt. “They’re showing up everywhere. I feel they’ve become really popular. So we were like how can we make our tunnel different from all the other ones and that’s when we decided let’s put programmable lights on this massive extremely long tunnel.”
Between ‘Night of Lights’ in Orange County, ‘Wonder LAnd’ in Woodland Hills, and ‘Happy Place’ in Century City, drive-thrus are quickly becoming a new holiday tradition.
With so few options for socially distant outdoor fun, the speedway seemed like a perfect place to create an experience designed for kids with access to a racetrack that’s fun for adults.
“I’m a mom of two and we’re just desperate to get out of the house with everything that’s going on,” said Opteyndt. “We really want to get into that holiday spirit. So being a part of Santa’s Speedway and being able to create something that’s so family oriented and something that kids would love has just been a phenomenal experience.”
And after 10 years experience producing lighting projects for amusement parks, shopping centers and residential complexes, this is the first time for Brittany to create a light show at a race track.
It took 8 miles of lights to make the tunnel alone and that’s just the first pit stop on a 2 mile tour around the famed raceway.
“This area we call Christmas Sweets. This is my favorite area,” said Opteyndt. “We got 14 foot tall lollipops which are huge and they change colors, they’re lots of fun. You got purples and pinks and teals and blues and it’s just that full-on kid candy sweets wonderland.”
And it wouldn’t be the holidays without a 110 foot tall Christmas tree made entirely of lights.
The whole experience takes around 45 minutes and visitors will drive two laps around the track.
“With events and everything shut down, I just feel like we need to get creative,” said Opteyndt. “We need to get creative in keeping our families together and getting businesses to stay open and still having these types of events to get in the holiday spirit and having lots of fun.”