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Drive-through lights to glitter at speedway

Christmas is said to be the best time of the year. It is the time when family and friends can indulge in giving and sharing. At the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the tradition goes even farther, with an expected 1 million lights shimmering as people share in the joy of the holiday.

The speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. North, is scheduled to hold its annual Glittering Lights holiday drive-through event Nov. 15 through Jan. 5.

“This event has been a part of people’s holiday traditions for years,” said Shannon Bentham, co-producer of Glittering Lights. “It’s the type of event where families can bring their kids and enjoy the holidays with beautiful light displays and holiday music.”

The event is set from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission for vehicles is $15 Monday through Thursday and $20 Friday through Sunday, including holidays.

The event, in its 13th year, ran through Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road, under the name Gift of Lights for the first 10 years. It moved to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2010.

Bentham added that the event plans to provide a prerecorded radio station with festive music for families to listen to as they drive down the 2.5-mile racetrack.

A new element set to debut Nov. 29 is the “Living Nativity,” put on by the branches of the United Methodist Church. The exhibit will feature performers acting out the iconic scene.

Another added attraction is scheduled to be Princess Fairy World, and back for its second year will be the Avenue of Trees, with more than 80 Christmas trees on display.

“The event will also feature the world’s largest light tunnel,” Bentham added. “Last year, Japan launched a larger light tunnel, but this year, we’re taking our title back.”

Glittering Lights will feature more than 400 animated and sparkling displays. Bentham estimates that the event typically takes 40 minutes to finish. The first 15,000 vehicles to arrive to the event are to receive a gift bag filled with sponsor-donated items.

Goodwill of Southern Nevada is also offering a $2 discount admission with a donation of gently used items at any of its 40 sites throughout Southern Nevada.

Jessica Milazzo, manager of community affairs for Goodwill of Southern Nevada, said the organization accepts clothing, household items, home decor, electronics and furniture.

Goodwill will also have a drop box at the event’s entrance, where families can receive a coupon for $2 off.

“Everything that people donate to us we resell,” Milazzo said. “The donations help provide people with job training and job placements.”

The event offers a $55 season pass that allows for multiple entrances and is good until Jan. 5.

A portion of the proceeds will also go to aid Speedway Children’s Charities’ efforts in funding children’s nonprofits throughout Southern Nevada.

For those looking for something to snack on, the Boy Scouts of America plan to sell hot chocolate at the event for $2 and popcorn for $4.

The event is pet-friendly, and those with dogs can receive treats for their companions.

The drive-through is expected to draw about 150,000 visitors and 25,000 to 30,000 vehicles, according to glitteringlightslasvegas.com.

Tickets can be purchased on the website or at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Discount tickets are available at all area Walgreens.

“This is an affordable way to enjoy the holidays with your family. Everyone loves it. It crosses over to all age ranges,” Bentham said. “It’s just a fun event that’s easy to do.”

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter Sandy Lopez at slopez@viewnews.com or 702-383-4686.

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