With the return of the Southern Lights holiday festival, presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc., the Southern Lights Stroll returns on the festival’s opening night, Thursday, Nov. 21. The only evening of the seasonal event when the public is allowed to experience a major portion of the lighted route on foot, visitors may choose to run, walk or stroll their way through thousands of dazzling holiday lights in the heart of horse country, on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park.
Now in its 12th season, the Southern Lights Stroll has proven popular, from casual walkers and families who bring children and dogs to get photos and see the lights outside of a car to serious runners who compete in the 5K portion of the “stroll.” Visitors take in the Christmas Village, the Twelve Days of Christmas, Keeneland Race Track, Show Jumping, Steeplechase and the Spires of Churchill Downs — displays comprising thousands of twinkling lights. New this year will be several Wizard of Oz light displays featuring favorite characters Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and the Wicked Witch.
John’s Run/Walk Shop has donated its services to the competitive 5K race, and awards will be given to winners. Additional activities include complimentary Mini Train Express rides, refreshments, prize drawings and more. A food drive for God’s Pantry and a local animal shelter will be held in conjunction with this event. All participants are asked to bring non perishable items to help local families and animals in need.
Registration is $20 for adults and $15 for kids 7-12. Walk-up registration Nov. 21 begins at 5 p.m., and the stroll begins at 6:45 p.m. Check-in is at the park’s Visitor Information Center. The first 500 registered adults receive a free souvenir T-shirt, and the first 200 registered kids receive a free holiday souvenir.
All proceeds support the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. The 2013 Shining Star Presenting Sponsor is Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc.; the Holly & Ivy Sponsors are Kerr Brothers and Cafe Press Inc.; and, the Ribbons & Bows Sponsor is Kentucky Utilities. Additional sponsors are Pepsi, SafetyTec, and John’s Run/Walk Shop.
The Southern Lights driving route will be open to vehicles from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly from Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 2013. The additional attractions inside the park will be open every night except Nov. 28 and Dec. 24-31. The cost is $15 per car Sunday through Thursday evenings and $20 per car on Friday and Saturday nights. More information is available by contacting the KHP Foundation at 859-255-5727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.SouthernLightsKy.org or www.KyHorsePark.com.