Every December, Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood transforms into a 15-acre holiday park with light displays totaling more than a million lights. But there’s much more to The Lights of Christmas festival than the decorations. Live entertainment, dining, shopping, and children’s activities keep everyone busy the entire evening.
The challenge is deciding where to start.
Posing for a photo near the entrance to The Lights of Christmas displays (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Ride the Polar Express Train, build toys with the elves, chat with Bruce the Spruce, make ornaments, pet animals at the farm, watch a 3D version of Night Before Christmas, paint your face, and get lost in the Natural Wonders Light Maze. Children under four feet tall can ride the ponies.
Enjoy live entertainment, which includes Victorian caroling, drama, storytelling, and a variety of performances from local musicians. Grab some coffee, hot chocolate, snacks, or dinner at several food stands and cafes throughout the park.
The dinner theatre at The Festival of Lights in Stanwood (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Or take a brief tour of the grounds and spend the rest of the evening at the dinner theatre. The four-course dinner includes salad, soup, a choice of entrée (prime rib, salmon, or butternut squash ravioli), and dessert. This year’s play is Christmas on the Tumblin’, a story about a young sophisticated Bostonian who travels to her aunt’s Colorado ranch in 1941 to celebrate the holidays. During her comical encounters with cowboys, horses, and an unconventional literary book club, she’s thrust into a life-changing decision.
Stage set for Christmas on the Tumblin’ (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Performances of Christmas on the Tumblin’ are also held at three Sunday dessert matinees.
The Lights of Christmas is the largest celebration in the Pacific Northwest combining light displays, live entertainment, children’s activities, shopping, and dining. The American Bus Association selected the festival as one of the top 100 events in North America for four years (2010-2012 and 2016).
Angels play trumpets in a valley with a mountain view. (photo by Cheryl Landes)
The festival is located at Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center, 28000 Marine Drive in Stanwood, a 90-minute drive north of Seattle (view directions). It’s open on select evenings, 5-10 p.m. (view schedule).
Admission is $16 for adults ages 13-59, $12 military ages 13-59 and seniors age 60s and higher, $11 for youth ages 4-12, and free for children three and younger. Buy tickets online or at the gate. Reservations are required for the dinner theatre and Sunday dessert matinee, and admission is included (book and pay here).
Overnight accommodations are available at Warm Beach; reservations are required (view rooms and availability).
A snow family waves while Santa and his reindeer depart Joyland. (photo by Cheryl Landes)