The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay
Since 1985 the Winter Festival of Lights has been delighting visitors of all ages! This annual holiday light show is one of the nation’s largest, covering more than 300 acres over a six-mile drive throughout Oglebay.
The Winter Festival of Lights was listed as one of the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US according to AOL Travel. The show is also listed on the American Bus Association’s Top International Events, was named as a “Top 100 Event” by Eventcrazy.com and was recently listed as one of the “Top 200 Events in the Country” by Discover America. The Festival of Lights was also featured on the Travel Channel’s Extreme Christmas Celebrations and was named one of the top 10 best holiday light and tree shows by HotelsCombined.com, a leading hotel search engine.
Browse a Christmas wonderland featuring a large selection of one-of-a-kind decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles. A cozy fireplace is adjacent to the shop with delightful treats for sale.
Festival of Trees
The Pine Room at Oglebay is transformed into a holiday wonderland with scores of trees, wreaths, centerpieces and swags, all decorated by area designers and available for purchase.
Fresh Cut Christmas Trees for Sale-Provided by the Boy Scouts of America
Find the perfect family Christmas tree at Oglebay’s tree lot this year.
Holiday Train Rides for Kids
All aboard! Children will squeal in delight as they ride a holiday themed train. Weather permitting. Tickets available at the Christmas Shop.
Family Holiday Hay Rides
The combination of the crisp winter air and your family all cozied up together will be a holiday memory that will last a lifetime. Oglebay’s holiday hay rides transport passengers on an old fashioned hayride. Weather permitting. Tickets available at the Christmas Shop.
Another fun activity for children is the holiday straw maze.
Gingerbread House, Entertainment & More
Special gingerbread house displays, winter family photo-ops, caroling and additional entertainment will be available throughout the Winter Festival of Lights event. Holiday snacks and treats will be available for purchase.
World-renown landscape lighting expert Dick Bosch, a Netherlands resident, and the late Robert J. Otten, Wheeling Park Commission’s long-time creative director, were the creative talents behind Oglebay’s show. Bosch’s lighting expertise was needed to produce just the right lighting for trees and buildings. This is made more difficult in winter when the hardwoods are bare. “Winter calls for special rules in lighting,” said Bosch. “There is a play of light, shadow and silhouetting effects that must appear natural, and is more difficult to achieve in winter.” Bob Otten designed the first five displays for the 1985 opening and until his death in 2005 created nearly 50 additional displays.
Gardens of Light
The hilltop and gardens area at Oglebay becomes a 4-season spectacle with 150 hanging baskets of light plus thousands of lighted flowers and trees! The Gardens of Light tour begins with Carriage House Glass, featuring a large selection of decorative glass and other collectibles. Carriage House Glass is also home to the sparkling Oglebay Institute Glass Museum featuring an extensive collection of West Virginia glass and glassblowing demonstrations. The Gardens of Light continues next door to the Visitors’ Center and just outside the Visitors’ Center lies the magical Christmas Tree Garden. The Christmas Tree Garden consists of 30 live trees decorated with various colored lights. Nestled amid the Christmas Tree Garden is the Nativity Display. The life-size Nativity was designed and created by a local artist, and has been a much-loved display at the Winter Festival of Lights since 1985.
In 2004, new displays included two special designs by area fourth grade students – “Christmas Kittens” and “Playful Pup”. These displays were the winners of a Festival of Lights New Idea Contest, in which school children were asked to submit ideas for new structures. During the first year over 90 entries were submitted! The ” Lighthouse ” display, introduced to the show in 2006, and “Christmas Tree Farm” added in 2013, were both designed by area school students.
In 2000, the Peanuts™ comic strip characters were introduced to the Winter Festival of Lights and the well-known gang can be seen in several different displays. Oglebay was granted permission to illuminate these beloved characters through the generosity of Jean Schulz, wife of the late Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts™. They have remained a part of the show ever since.
While you are waiting for the hillsides to illuminate, there is plenty to do and see at Oglebay. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge offers a holiday buffet nightly and the family-friendly GlassWorks Grill at the lodge is open daily for lunch and dinner come and relax at the new Garden Bistro. The Winter Festival of Lights is also a special time at the Oglebay specialty shops. In addition to the Carriage House Glass, Farmhouse Sweets & Treat Shoppe, Palm Room and Garden Center shops in the Gardens of Light area, unique items are available at the Resort Shop and West Spa at Wilson Lodge, Nature Express at the Good Zoo, Speidel Pro Shop and the NEW Hilltop Christmas Shop. All of Oglebay’s specialty shops are fully stocked for the holiday season. Can’t decide or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for? Gift Cards are available in any amount and can be purchased through the Oglebay Online Marketplace.
Hours and Information
The Winter Festival of Lights is viewable Sunday through Thursday until 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. A per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season. Trolley tours are offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge.
Saturdays are very popular nights to visit the light show. Because of this, long lines should be expected and wait times can be long. Please visit us Sundays through Friday to avoid extended wait times.
Oglebay, and the Winter Festival of Lights, is located 4 miles from I-70 at Exit 2A. It is 60 miles from Pittsburgh via I-79 south and I-70 west; 120 miles from Columbus via I-70 east; and 150 miles from Cleveland via I-77 south and I-70 east. See location page for further directions.
Special Festival of Lights overnight packages are available at Wilson Lodge. Call 877-436-1797 or book online!