DUBLIN — With an all-new portion of the Lu Mil Vineyard property opened up for a journey through thousands of lights, all choreographed to Christmas music, the annual Festival of Lights show at the vineyard is bigger and better than ever.
“This is amazing,” said Sarah Johnson of St. Pauls after taking the one-hour drive. “It’s even better than last year — and when we heard there was more added, we had to come back.”
After several months of planning, employees at Lu Mil started putting up lights in early September.
According to Denise Taylor-Bridgers, co-owner of the vineyard, the idea for expanding the Festival of Lights route was her uncle’s, Ron Taylor.
“He really wanted to change things after several years,” she said recently. “Now, visitors will see hundreds of thousands of lights — and some have been replaced with LED lights that are brighter and bolder.
“I took the drive through the other night and was blown away,” she added. “It really will be a magical experience.”
The annual light show attracts folks from throughout the area, many of whom have never been to the vineyard before. One of those was the Robert family from Eastover.
“This is even better than we expected,” said Marsha Robert. “The girls really loved all the lights and scenes out there. But they also really wanted to see Santa.”
Along with the Festival of Lights self-driving tour that winds up into the woods behind the two lakes and back to the main grounds, there is a Candy Shop, Santa’s Shop and Gift Shop available to visitors. The Gift Shop offers wine-tastings, as well as samples of the vineyards numerous jellies and sauces — all of which are available for purchase. Photos with Santa are free.
The Festival of Lights is now open Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m. Starting Dec. 17, the light show will be open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Cost of the driving tour is $6 per person up to $60 for a full vehicle. Visitors may also rent the vineyard’s double-decker bus for $6 per person with a minimum of 20 people — call 910-862-1603 to make the reservation.
A country buffet is also available to visitors each night from 5 to 9 p.m. Cost is $11 per person.
For information about the festival of Lights, call 910-862-1603 or 910-866-5819. The vineyard’s website is located at www.lumilvineyard.com.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.