Due to its popularity and nature of the holiday tradition, a visit to Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights is best enjoyed with a little advance planning. We’ve compiled the best tips, ideas and advice in one handy guide.
For full FOL details, admission rates and special events, click here.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Tanglewood Festival of Lights is open nightly from 6 – 11 p.m. starting Friday, Nov. 13 through Friday, Jan. 1. The four-mile route runs directly through Tanglewood Park, located at 4201 Manor House Circle in Clemmons, a charming suburb of Winston-Salem.
The most popular evenings are Thursday through Sunday, and selected “Discount Nights”. The busiest night by far is Saturday. On these nights, expect to wait up to three to fours hours before entering the park.
TOP TEN TIPS FOR TANGLEWOOD’S FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
1. Plan to attend in your jammies. It’s a nighttime activity, after all. And you won’t be home until after dark. So why not dress the part? Just remember to bring shoes for everyone in case you decide to visit the Holiday Gift Village in the middle of the Park.
2. Bring your camera (or smartphone), and be sure to bring car chargers with you. You’ll be amazed how many photos, videos, social posts and other “ohhhh!” moments you’ll want to capture.
3. Grandmom was right. Be sure that every member of your party uses the restroom before heading out to the park. Wait times can be long. You want to be comfortable, especially if you’re planning to picnic in the car. Bathroom locations during Festival of Lights can be found on the website here.
4. You won’t need a full tank of gas, but you will have your car running for a time. Do yourself a favor and top off the tank, clean the windows and make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
5. Pack a snack. The whole idea of Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights is to have some good, old-fashioned holiday fun. So bring along some Moravian ginger cookies, sweets from local Dewey’s Bakery or Krispy Kreme (founded in Winston-Salem!), or a thermos or two of something warm, steamy and sweet. Pressed for time? Just stop by one of Winston-Salem’s many coffee shops and place an order to go (ByGood Coffee, Camino Bakery, Footnote, Known Coffee, and Krankie’s are all excellent options). For more coffee shops, click here.
NOTE: S’moresville, sponsored by Lowes Foods, is available in the Gift Village to the right of the Gift Shop. S’mores kits are available for purchase. Personal snacks are not permitted in this area.
6. Plan a sing-a-long with holiday carols, hymns, Broadway show tunes, rap, rock, hip hop–whatever your crowd will most enjoy. The point is to relax, have a good laugh, and celebrate your time together. Who knows? You might even end up with a whole new batch of photos to share in holiday cards or on Instagram.
7. Can’t carry a tune? Trot out a few family-friendly jokes, games or even a book to read aloud (like Lucky New Year, Night Tree, or T’was The Night Before Christmas). Try downloading a few of your favorite holiday audio books to your smartphone – all you’ll need is an auxiliary cord to bring it to life for the whole car. Anything to make the evening feel special.
8. Bring some spending money for Santa’s Workshop, concessions stands, s’mores and the Tanglewood Gift Village (big red barn), all located approximately half-way through the Festival of Lights travel route. (Rest assured though, there’s an ATM in case you forget, or need more!) There are lots of wonderful things to see, taste, try and buy. It’s also a perfect place for you (and the kids) to hop out and stretch your legs…and see Tip #3!!
9. Looking for a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Claus? Stop by the Holiday Gift Village on certain days and times through December 23. The happy couple will be in residence Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 6 and 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to closing.
10. Two words: Have fun!
For Tanglewood Festival of Lights Admission Rates and Special Hotel Packages, CLICK HERE.