KTVA's 7 Nights of Lights
Join KTVA on a journey across Southcentral for a look at some of the best light displays around. In this darkest time of the year, we are counting down the days to the winter solstice and a new year.
Know a great display in your neighborhood? Let us know by sending us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solstice Tree Tour - Kincaid Park's Mize Loop Trail
The free tour, hosted by the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage, gives people the chance to see decorated holiday trees on Kincaid Park’s Mize Loop trail, a 2.5-kilometer tour, by ski.
“December is hard with long, dark days, so we are excited to give Anchorage a reason to get out on the trails," Sara Miller, the event coordinator and NSAA board member, said in a press release on the event that opened the tour. "It’s a chance for many to try Nordic skiing and see the winter wonderland that Kincaid offers. The community involvement with this event has been overwhelming!”
Rogers Park - Cornell Court and Lake Otis Parkway
Homeowner Randy Beltz and his family have been collecting the festive decorations for a decade.
"It began about 10 years ago with the first blow-up that we got," Beltz said. "Then we started getting one here and there for Christmas and then hitting the after-Christmas sales."
Beltz says both his son and grandsons work with him to plan out the design and put the display together. They love the honks of encouragement they get from passing cars and seeing the joy their yard brings during the holidays.
"We get thank you cards from the neighborhood kids," Beltz said. "We didn't do it one year and heard enough about it."
Wasilla - South Vicki Way
The eye-catching lights in the South Vicki Way neighborhood dance through the darkness.
But the show really comes alive when you tune in your radio to 104.7 FM.
Classic Christmas carols and funkier renditions like the techno version of the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" fill your car as you drive around looking at the synchronized lights.
It's a holiday harmony Raquel Luna started about a decade ago in the neighborhood where she grew up. She now owns a house, a business and several rental properties along the street.
"The kids, the smiles," Luna described her favorite parts. "It's nothing but my time but to be able to do something just to bring joy and happiness to other people."
The South Vicki Way neighborhood is located off Blue Lupine Drive near the Seward Meridian Parkway.
Anchorage - Alaska Botanical Garden
On night four, takes you to the Alaska Botanical Garden and its first Holiday Lights in the Garden.
The program goes from 5–8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29, plus New Year's Eve.
Families gather to admire the bright displays of holiday lights while they stargaze, drink hot chocolate, roast marshmallows around the bonfire or participate in arts and crafts projects. Admission is $5 for members and $7 for non-members. Kids 4-years-old and younger get in free.
In addition to the holiday light displays, the Alaska Botanical Garden is offering various activities each evening.
Winter Solstice Festival - Cuddy Family Midtown Park
Alaskans across the state are ready to welcome back the sun. In Midtown, families gathered for music, skating, a light parade and free activities at the 2018 Winter Solstice Festival.
The free event hosted by Anchorage Parks and Recreation takes place each year to brighten up the longest night of the year.
With fat-tire bike rides, a surprise appearance from Santa and sleigh rides around the pond, the festival is a beloved part of Alaska winter.
Anchorage - Taku-Campbell Lake
This spectacular light display in the Taku-Campbell Lake neighborhood puts a smile on children's faces on their way to school.
"We have a school at the end of our street and so the school buses come by everyday and they actually stop let the kids look out the window," Shelle Shaw, homeowner, said. "Being on the corner we get tons of people passing by and it just makes people happy. So many people stop and thank us and it makes us happy."
The display features a ton of Shaw's favorites, including the inflatable Santa on top of the roof. The home is at the corner of 72nd and Arctic.
"Every year it gets bigger, every year there's more lights, there's more blow-ups," Shaw said. "Just you know, it brightens up the night — it's so dark here most of the time that every time you drive by this corner it makes you happy."
Huffman - Spinnaker and Beamreach
The light display on the corner of Spinnaker and Beamreach serves as a reminder to many Anchorage residents of the reason for the season.
"I guess I started back maybe 15, 18 years ago [and it] just keeps growing," homeowner John Anderson said. "I can't seem to turn down a Christmas figure whenever I find one in the garage sale."
Anderson started his display when his kids were small with just two decorations: a snowman and a Santa.
"I put it on the porch and that's all it was for many years until it started to grow and have a life of it's own," Anderson said. "Interestingly enough, two of my daughters live within a four block radius of our house here and they come over and now it's the grandkids who really enjoy it."
One of Anderson's favorite features is the synchronized trees that light up with the music. He said there's a neighbor at the end of the street who tells him her Christmas doesn't really start until those trees are out.
"The snowman convention? My wife's idea," Anderson said. " We had gotten so many of the snowmen and wanted to kind of a grouping and she came up with that idea and made the sign and then it was just two years ago that I had enough Santas that I needed to do something with them and that's when the idea of Santa's Helper School came up."
Anderson said his "reason for the season" sign is a new addition this year and was made by his wife. It's posted near the Natvity scene that's in the center of the display.
"Drive by and have a look," Anderson said. "Enjoy it as much as we do putting it up."
Check back for more featured displays throughout the week!