by MIKE CHAIKEN
In the film comedy, “Christmas Vacation,” the main character Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, stands proudly outside of his house around Christmas time. He is admiring his holiday light handiwork, which looks as if it would rival a Kiss rock concert.
Of course, since it is Clark Griswold, all heck breaks out when he plugs in his holiday illumination monstrosity.
The scene pokes gentle fun at a holiday rite in America. Families string Christmas lights around their homes intended elicit a gasp of awe from passers-by. To that end, many Connecticut residents will pop into their family vehicle and meander the neighborhoods to express that awe at the Christmas lights.
The only problem there is you are stuck in the vehicle. If you want to pause, you might get stuck behind a few other vehicles that also stopped to pause. So, you keep moving and travel down the road.
And snacks… if you bring snacks on your lights mission, you risk mussing up the family minivan and your new winter coats.
So… Lake Compounce’s annual Holiday Lights, which opened Nov. 23 for the season, is a fine option.
Once you park and pay your admission, you can hoof it through the park, which is decorated to the nines with all sorts of Christmas lights. At the entrance, you can watch the lights dance across the tunnel underneath Lake Avenue. Then, you can be awed by what the park bills as New England’s largest Christmas tree.
Inside, the speakers pump out a variety of holiday and winter-themed music. There is a stilt walker. Mrs. Claus has a bevy of children gathered to listen to her holiday tales. Santa Claus is on hand taking holiday wishes. Several rides aimed at the kids are up and running under the lights. There are food booths and trucks selling things like grilled cheese, sliders, and baked potatoes. And there is hot chocolate and coffee to purchase to take the chill out of the winter’s evening.
And then there are the lights, which greet you at every corner, in a multitude of colors. The lights even dance to a rock and roll version of “The Nutcracker” at one location.
You can meander to your heart’s delight (till closing time), take selfies, and admire the pretty colors up close and personal—rather than gazed through the glass of automobile.
New for this year is Brunch with Santa. On Dec. 1,8, 15, and 22 at 1 p.m., guests can enjoy a meal catered by Santa’s elves as enjoy various DIY festive activities, holiday music and singalongs, interactive reindeer games, a carousel ride, and photos with Santa.
Tickets for Brunch with Santa must be pre-purchased.
For hours and tickets for Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce on the Bristol/ Southington town line, visit lakecompounce.com.
The Holidays Lights also make a backdrop for a fashion shoot with Autumn Schless demonstrating her winter style.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN