The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will sponsor the 34th annual Christmas Magic, "A Festival of Lights," at Rocky Ridge County Park, 3699 Deininger Road, York. The display will be open from Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Dec. 31, on Mondays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m. It will be closed on closed Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, and Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25.
Christmas Magic is a half-mile walking trail that meanders along a wooded hilltop through nearly 600,000 Christmas lights, various holiday scenes and five enclosed, heated pavilions. The spirit of the holiday is conveyed by using animation, displays, visits by Santa Claus, food and a train display. The trail is accessible to anyone.
New this year, the display will include a Nixon Park Nature Center wildlife scene, a new Santa Claus scene, more outdoor props, a larger G-gauge train display by the Susquehanna Garden Railroad Society, new trail themes, and Light-O-Rama, a synchronized lighting program. Since 2006, LED mini lights have been introduced to the trail to conserve electricity. All holiday lighting in 2017 will be LED.
There is a fee, but children age 4 and under will be admitted for free. All proceeds will benefit the Parks Department. For more information, readers may call 717-840-7443, visit http://www.yorkcountyparks.org or http://fb.com/yorkcountyparks, or follow @yorkcountyparks on Twitter.
In the case of inclement weather, the trail may be closed. For weather-related updates, readers may call the aforementioned phone number or check the Parks Department's Twitter or Facebook pages.
The busiest nights of Christmas Magic are Friday and Saturday nights. To avoid traffic issues, visitors are encouraged to visit Christmas Magic on weekday nights. If the park is experiencing a high traffic volume, road signs will be posted along Mount Zion Road indicating that visitors must report to the Central York High School parking area to receive vehicle passes. The passes will allow people to access Deininger Road and the park when they are instructed to do so. Any vehicle at the school will be permitted to visit Christmas Magic that night. York County Sheriff's Department officers will be located at the intersection of Mount Zion Road and Deininger Road to allow only vehicles with passes to turn onto Deininger Road. The Parks Department expects the heaviest traffic flows on Saturdays, Dec. 2 to 23, along with Friday, Dec. 22.
Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods to Christmas Magic for donation to the York County Parks food drive. The donated items will be presented to York County Food Bank during the holiday season. The food drive will take place throughout Christmas Magic. Last year, the food drive generated 700 pounds of canned goods.
York County Parks will also partner with Toys for Tots. On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, anyone who brings a new toy still in the box or container for donation will receive buy-one-get-one-free admission into the event.
Christmas Magic began in 1984, when fewer homes were decorating but there was still a desire to see Christmas lights locally. In 1984, a small budget allowed for 10,000 lights and props, mostly produced by the Parks Department. Today, the props are produced commercially and in-house. It takes approximately 6,000 hours to set up, run and disassemble Christmas Magic.