Behind the Scenes at Holiday In Lights

Holiday in Lights is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! Last week, I went behind the scenes with Ed Robben, a 19-year veteran with the Holiday in Lights Alleen Company crew.

Built over a mile of wooded roadway, the holiday themed attraction features thousands of twinkling lights and more than 120 festive figures. Guests will be dazzled by dynamic lights displays depicting classic holiday imagery from Santa and his elves to religious icons like the Menorah, angels and Christmas trees.


Holiday in Lights attracts over 18,000 cars each year, and is busiest in the two weekends before Christmas. It takes about 15-20 minutes to drive through the display, which Ed and his crew at the Alleen Company spend 3-4 weeks setting up. This year’s Holiday in Lights Santa opens Friday, Nov. 18 — and you’ll want to be there! At 5:30 p.m., Santa himself rides in on a Fire Truck to kick off the festivities. Afterwards, your kids can meet one-on-one with Mr. C at Santaland.


Ed had lots of wisdom to impart:

  • Go on a Monday night. It’s the least busy day of the week, and you can really take your time enjoying the lights!
  • Download a coupon on the website.
  • Best for: kids, families and grandparents, who will enjoy the low-key, family friendly atmosphere of Holiday in Lights.
  • Don’t get out of your car for pictures! Patrons are welcome to snap photos from their cars; however, not only is getting out of your car prohibited (and dangerous!), but it also holds up the line.

Prefer to take in the lights on foot? Be sure to mark your calendar for November 19: the Holiday in Lights 5k Run/Walk. The race starts at 5 p.m. at Sharon Woods. Be sure to dress up for the costume contest! (This is one of Ed’s favorite events — and Cincy Magazine agrees! This charitable race was voted “Best of the North” this year.)


Just for fun: a look at the before/after** of a few Holiday in Lights displays:

The Holiday in Lights Pillars


Holiday Scenery


The Tunnel


Holiday in Lights is open seven days a week from November 18 through December 31. Hours are 6-9 p.m. Sunday though Thursday and 5:30-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $13 per vehicle and $45 for buses and 15-passenger vans. For more details, please visit the Holiday in Lights website. Sharon Woods is located at 11450 Lebanon Rd., Sharonville, OH 45241.

**All “after” imagery of the lights is used with permission from Holiday In Lights Flickr account.


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