Shipshewana's 'Lights of Joy' seeing record turnout in first weekend of the season
SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. - Is decorating for the holiday season before Thanksgiving ok? People in Shipshewana certainly think so as their annual "Lights of Joy" Christmas Lights show opened this weekend at the Shipshewana Trading Place. Saturday was night two of the 2020 season, and organizers said they have been blown away by the traffic they have seen come through.
"Way before Christmas Season is even supposed to start, people are already excited about Christmas lights," Shipshewana Trading Place Director of Marketing Lora Gates said. "We do start a little bit early here in Shipshewana, but that's so everyone can enjoy that. To see tonight, with all of the cars and all of the families enjoying safe socially distanced activity, even when we're not in a pandemic, it's fun because families create memories and traditions."
The show allows people to drive through a mile and a half to see roughly 1.5 million Christmas lights. The lights will not be on every night, but they will be on multiple nights a week from now until January. Organizers said the full season schedule and admission prices are online. volunteers said it is a family affair for people who come see the lights as well as those who help set them up.
"Being in a small community, it's family-oriented," said Michael Christner, the Flea Market Manager at Shipshewana Trading Place. "My kids were out here last night, and they were running around helping turn things on. So, it can turn into a family thing for me which makes it fun."
Friday night was the first night of the lights. Gates said they saw 360 cars go through. Saturday night, the line was still moving through more than an hour after the lights were supposed to be turned off for the night. Gates said it's always a time for making memories and tradition, but 2020, she said, has made the lights even more special.
"I get to see a lot of the social media," Gates said. "So, the fun part of that is people are so thankful and grateful to have a place to go right now, something that hasn't been canceled for the year, and they're able to do it safely. We have no issues whatsoever with social distancing. You can buy your tickets in advance"
The light show also has a radio frequency guests can tune their car radios to so they can listen to Christmas music as they drive through the lights.