What’s up at Freeman Park? It’s the Festival of Lights

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IDAHO FALLS — Passersby may have noticed there are Christmas lights at Freeman Park — lots of them.

The lights are still dark for the moment, though. The city of Idaho Falls is preparing for its first ever Festival of Lights at Freeman Park. The Christmas event starts Nov. 28 and is planned to go to Dec. 31.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with Utah-based holiday lighting company Fantasy At The Bay to create a fully animated drive-thru production in the park. Scenes with themes from the holidays and Idaho’s history will be on display.

The scenes are comprised of handmade metal frames shaped as people and animals that are piped with lights. Fantasy At The Bay owners Sonny and LeAnn Gilbert say all the scenes are original pieces.

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“We’ve got five pieces to each scene, and most everything in our park is animated,” Sonny Gilbert said.

Drivers will pay a fee to drive along a half-mile route through the park. Ticket sale information and the driver route through the park have not been finalized, Idaho Falls spokeswoman Kerry McCullough said.

“We are excited to bring this to the community, but we are still working out the final logistics on it,” McCullough said. “We’ll be sending out additional information at the end of the week.”

The drive-thru production will feature around 80 displays. The lights in the displays are timed to give the illusion of movement.

“We have bears like in a campground, we have animals in winter fantasy, we have Cinderella,” LeAnn Gilbert said.

Besides the festive display, visitors can enjoy food and other activities.

“We’ll have concessions, (visitors can) see Santa, get out and ride the wagon, get out and enjoy the display. There’s something for all ages,” LeAnn Gilbert said.

Fantasy At The Bay employee Rachel Reeder said the Idaho Falls community has a lot to look forward to.

“It’s just a good sense of the holidays. It gives you the real feel of Christmas,” she said.

The Festival of Lights at Freeman Park is a separate event from the Idaho Falls Winter Wonderland Light Parade, which is also taking place in Idaho Falls this month. That event is not sponsored by the City of Idaho Falls.

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