ROANOKE COUNTY, Va.- – 'Tis the season, five months early. Two organizations are working together to announce a Christmas surprise.
Roanoke County and Center in the Square announced a new partnership to host an annual holiday light show at Explore Park.
Illuminights is an outdoor winter walking tour displaying half-million Christmas lights. Doug Blount says this event will make Explore Park a year-round destination.
"We wanted to do something between Thanksgiving and January when it's not our peak operating time," said Doug Blount, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
Roanoke County is preparing for thousands of tourists who will come to the region to walk through the winter wonderland.
"You don't have to travel, it's right in your own backyard. That's what I love about it," said Wendi Schultz, tourism and events coordinator for Roanoke County.
This one-of-a kind, memory-making experience comes after two years of planning.
"And to be able to partner with a group like this for what could be a signature attraction for Virginia's Blue Ridge, this is very exciting for Explore Park," said Blount.
Illuminghts is also a fundraising opportunity.
"Almost all of our organizations don't pay any rent to center in the square. And we see Illuminights as the possibility to bring in a tremendous amount of revenue and support," said Tara Marciniak, Center in the Square director of institutional advancement.
With tunnels and mazes of lights in different themes, Illuminights will be open from late November to January.