Hundreds of events have been postponed because of the coronavirus but not Westchester’s Winter Wonderland.
It’ll just be different.
Instead of attractions such as ice skating, rides and food, the county and the Westchester Parks Foundation announced Wednesday a drive-thru holiday lights extravaganza at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla starting Nov. 27 and running through Jan. 3.
Families will be able to enjoy a 1.2-mile route through the park featuring more than a dozen elaborate light displays of Christmas-themed scenes that will include Candy Cane Lane, an elves playground and Winter Winds Way, where Old Man Winter swirls snowflakes into the air.
Classic holiday music will be simulcast and can be listened to in each vehicle through the car’s FM frequency.
The attraction ends with a 100-foot lighted tunnel, said Joe Stout, executive director of the Westchester Parks Foundation. The route can be completed in about 20 to 25 minutes, he said.
“(These are) things you can’t see anywhere else,” Stout said. “There’s really nothing like it in the Hudson Valley or close to us.”
Event sponsors, led by Westchester Medical Center, helped pay for the displays. They were designed by Eclectic Precision of Peekskill and Dark Tech Effects of Valhalla and are being installed by county Parks Department personnel.
The best part is that the public can view what is billed this year as The NEW Westchester Winter Wonderland from the safety of their own car.
“It is a drive-thru, you’re in your car with your family and friends and it should be fabulous,” said Westchester County Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor, who mentioned that she had been approached by residents asking whether the county was going to hold the Winter Wonderland this year.
County Executive George Latimer said there was no way the county could safely present the conventional Winter Wonderland, which had been held for the past six years, but the Westchester Parks Foundation and the Parks Department used some ingenuity and creativity what should be a memorable holiday experience.
“You try to reimagine, you try to find a practical way to take the basic experience that’s wonderful and make it still happen going forward,” Latimer said.
The NEW Westchester Winter Wonderland will be open Tuesday through Saturday from Nov. 27 to Dec. 20 and every night from Dec. 21 through Jan. 3, except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The event will be open from 6 to 9:45 p.m. Tickets are $25 per vehicle.
Stout said reservations are strongly encouraged to ensure each party is admitted. Each 15-minute time slot each day it’s open and can accommodate up to 100 vehicles, he said.
Tickets are now on sale. For tickets and more information, contact www.wwonderland.com.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/