Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013

Callaway Garden’s Fantasy in Lights

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For more than 20 years, Fantasy In Lights continues to be an incredible holiday light and sound show. Here are a few fun facts from behind the scenes:

1. Fantasy In Lights opened in 1992 with five scenes. Since then, it has grown to include more than a dozen lighted scenes with music and many with animation.

2. The original scenes were designed by professionals who formerly worked with Disney’s Imagineering department.

3. The total show includes around 8 million lights. This is equivalent to the number of lights on 26,666 standard 6-foot tall Christmas Trees.

4. It takes a lot of electricity to keep the lights burning and a lot extension cords to deliver it — roughly 3,500 of them.

5. More than 32 miles of cable is required to power all of the sound and lights.

6. About 12 million cable ties hold all the cables in place.

7. Three of the scenes are controlled with digital show controls, just like those used in Broadway productions.

8. If you connected all of the light strings used in Fantasy In Lights, they would stretch more than 725 miles. That’s enough to outline the state of South Carolina or stretch end to end from Pine Mountain, Ga., to Baltimore, Md.

9. It takes approximately 3,900 hours to install Fantasy In Lights; 1,780 hours to maintain it while the show is open; and 1,020 hours to disassemble it.

10. It takes six weeks to install the entire show, with each scene requiring three to four days for installation.

11. The newest scene, Enchanted Rainbow Forest, has 410 controlled images. This has almost three times the number of images used in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

12. 99 percent of the frames used in Fantasy In Lights are custom designed and built just for Callaway Gardens.

13. To turn on the show, more than 1,000 switches have to be flipped every night. It takes two workers at least 45 minutes to turn them on and another 45 minutes to turn them off at the end of the night.

14. Each scene receives a major overhaul every three to four years. This process includes rewiring and restringing with new lights. 15. Each January, Fantasy In Lights is stored in a 6,500-square-foot warehouse, where it remains until the elves visit us again in the Fall to begin another year of the spectacular show.

— Callaway Gardens

Take time to visit holiday tradition Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation

Tickets & Travel has discounted tickets to Callaway Garden’s Fantasy In Lights, open through Dec. 30 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.

With 8 million lights and 15 dazzling scenes, Fantasy In Lights is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” according to National Geographic Traveler. Visit

Tickets & Travel offers $9 tickets (plus tax) for ages 6 and older. That’s a savings of at least $8 per ticket. The younger ones will not be charged an entry fee, but they will need a free child ticket, so be sure to ask. You may also purchase these discounted tickets at the Kelley Hill, Harmony Church and Sand Hill recreation centers.

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