Light display to go on at speedway

The popular Gift of Lights drive-through holiday attraction is set to return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday but with a new name, Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Organizers say that many favorite elements will return, along with several additional attractions.

The event, which was started by local promoter Brenda Meehan, has been taken on by the North Carolina-based marketing firm Miller Davis Agency.

“We worked on Carolina Christmas last year, and that went really well, so we were asked to get involved with more parks this year,” said Jill Wagoner, account executive with Miller Davis. “We’re working with six parks this year. Some are brand new and some, like Las Vegas, we’re just a new partner on the project.”

As with previous years, the event features illuminated and animated displays best experienced driving slowly with the headlights off from your car. This year, expect 400 animated light displays along a 2½-mile route that goes under the grandstands and along speedway property.

“Some of the old favorite displays will return this year along with some new surprises,” Wagoner said. “We’re giving it a new, fresh look and feel to go with the new name.”

Among new features are a YMCA-sponsored Santa’s Village, free photo opportunities with Santa and other walk-around characters such as Frosty and the Nutcracker, a heated snow castle tent and snow-making machines.

The light displays are owned and installed by Indiana-based Winterland Inc., which handles similar displays across the country. The attraction is a joint effort of Winterland and 3Dudes Productions, an events production company owned by Miller Davis and another North Carolina company, Sharp Capital Group.

The new organizers plan to carry on the established practice of using the attraction, in part, as a fundraiser for local charities.

As in years past, visitors bringing a bag of gently used items for Goodwill of Southern Nevada will receive a $2 discount on admission.

“It’s the largest single donation event of the year for us,” said Kathy Topp, Goodwill of Southern Nevada spokeswoman. “In the last two years we’ve received donations of gently used goods for more than 57,000 individuals from this event alone.”

The attraction benefits several charities, including the Boy Scouts of America and Speedway Children’s Charities.

The first nine years, Gift of Lights lit up Sunset Park. Last year, the lights moved when Clark County sought greater compensation for what amounted to a two-month rental of a large portion of the park. As the organizers operate several similar events at other speedways, it’s likely the event will continue at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled to be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, from Friday through Jan. 1. To get there, head north on Interstate 15 and take the Speedway exit. Admission is $15 per car and $1 per person for buses, with a $20 minimum. Vehicles must be less than 11 feet tall. For more information, visit vegasglitteringlights.com or call 888-926-7402.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.

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