The inaugural Magic of Lights run is coming off a successful 2017 season with almost one million guests having witnessed the drive-thru holiday show. With seven locations in the U.S. and Canada, almost 200,000 cars rode through the mile-and-a-half-long show.
“We opened on Nov. 17 everywhere and closed either Jan. 1 or 6. We’ve had an amazing run and I think the property is poised to explode,” said Ken Hudgens, formerly with Feld Entertainment and now owner/partner in Magic of Lights. “We feel like this has got the potential to go from seven shows to double every year over the next five years.”
Magic of Lights is put on by Fun Guys Event, a division of FunGuys LLC whose principals include other former Feld Entertainment executives including Tim Murray, Eric Cole, and owner, producer and promoter of DockDogs and Upbeat K9, Grant Reeves.
“The four of us got together and focused on an entertainment niche that we thought we could really do something in and that was holidays,” Hudgens told Amplify. “In 2016, we did three pilot events. Those three events went well enough that we decided we wanted to take a full run at it.”
For their 2017 run, Magic of Lights partnered with International Speedway Corporation to host shows at Daytona International Speedway in Florida and Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino, California. The show also made a promotional deal with Live Nation for their Jones Beach State Park attraction.
Magic of Lights invites carloads of revelers to drive through a one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half mile courses of winter holiday scenes up to 30 feet high. Each show holds more than 10 miles of LED lights through the 12 days of Christmas and other sights such as Santa backflipping on a motorcycle or racing his elves. Cars can tune into a special radio station to listen to holiday music throughout the 20-40 min trek.
“Our goal, especially given our backgrounds in producing the biggest and best quality events with Feld, was to produce the biggest holiday light show experience that we could,” said Hudgens.”The drive-thru makes it unique and also allows that family experience in the car.”
Magic of Lights not only brings an enjoyable show to its seven locations, but also helps the community. Each location serves as a platform for food drives, coat drives, and toy drives and the company has donated over $120,000 to local charities, foundations and children hospitals.
“One of the reasons that it works in all of the places is that we are utilizing their facility and their venue and their staff at a time of the year where generally nothing would be happening,” said Hudgens. “It is a way to get people to their facility that may not come normally come and it is a way to keep their facility staff active at a time of the year when generally they would probably be down. This is something that runs 45-50 consecutive days.”
Hudgens explained that another strength of the show was its adaptability.
“We can adapt this to whatever footprint, whatever length that we have,” Hudgens said, adding that the Jones Beach location runs two-and-a-half miles which “is very different from the mile-and-a-half course at Daytona International Speedway which goes through and under the grandstands. Each of those is very different from the Ottawa show which is at Wesley Clover Park that is a rural, almost campground setting that runs through a forrest.”
For future installments, Magic of Lights intends to expand on their holiday village. This year’s Jones Beach location had a pit stop where motorists could get out to buy food and beverages, take a photo with Santa, hear carols sung by local choirs, and roast marshmallows.
“This is nontraditional content and people are looking for that. It isn’t geographic-centric and it isn’t language dependent,” Hudgens said. “The holidays are the holidays no matter where you go and our show is all inclusive. We touch every religion and every holiday so this is an attraction that can play anywhere. Our designs aren’t just on North America.”
For more information on Magic of Lights head here.