Nights of Lights

This year, WRAL hosted the Night of Lights, a drive-through light show at Dorothea Dix Park. The show came with many beautiful sights and overall was a fun family-friendly experience. (Photo courtesy of Abigail Mabe)


WRAL hosted the Night of Lights, a Covid-friendly drive through light show held in Dorothea Dix Park. This show proved to be extremely popular, as all nights were quickly sold out and some tickets had to be refunded. It is safe to say that hundreds of people were happy with their holiday experience. 

The show started off with something North Carolinians don’t often see: snow. This snow was made out of bubbles that flew around the car and welcomed visitors into the first attraction. Ahead, the candy cane light tunnel greeted car after car, the beginning of a very entertaining light show. 

Trees were wrapped with lights of all different shapes and colors while icicle-type lights dangled from the trees along with the classic ball-shaped lights. Everywhere you looked were lights, and the use of the natural trees and fields was a great showcase for the park, as the Night of Lights served as a fundraiser for the growth of Dorothea Dix. The plan is to make Dorothea Dix similar to Central Park, with greenways and playgrounds cutting through the area as a communal place for Raleigh to gather.Ahead, more lights are seen dotting either side of the road. There were so many cars that two lanes were created and there were different light statues on either side for the pleasure of all viewers in the cars. The lights looked great from both a far and close distance, and they even paired up to a holiday radio station for some background music. 

Local artists such as Nate Sheaffer, Mary Carter Taub, and Jon McLendon all worked on the design and structure of the lights, especially for some of the tunnels and customized lights. Some lights were spelled out in such a way to say “Merry Christmas” or “Welcome to  Night of Lights,” and the creativity of the lights all working together really displayed the artists’ craftsmanship and ingenuity. 

The colors of the lights changed based on what section you were driving through, and they all pleasantly corresponded with each other. Here, it looks like snowflakes are dangling in mid-air, part of the craftsmanship of the artists. You can also see the snowmen and snowflakes on the ground, a good compliment to the ones above. Overall, it was very aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable. 

Here, there are candy-cane sticks of light leading up to another tunnel of blinking blue lights. Above that, you can also see green balls hanging from the tops of trees, providing an experience from all levels. You can visibly see the work that was put into the route and how much thought was contributed to making it so cohesive. 


At the very end of the route, people dressed in Santa and tree costumes danced around and waved at all the cars. The 1.3 mile course through Dorothea Dix created a safe way to spread some holiday cheer. The event was successful and a fun family-friendly way to look at lights during Covid.


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