Seeking light & fun during winter holidays?

York has a famous, shining, spot.

By Hope Lins

Special to The Knightly News

Despite the unseasonably warm weather Central Pennsylvania had last month, the holidays are just around the corner.

Most of us know the Christmas season is a time to be festive, but it can also be incredibly stressful and finding activities to relieve some of that stress for the whole family is crucial.

Well – don’t fret.

Christmas Magic 2022, in York, is here!

It has been brightening people’s lives for nearly 40 years.

Locals and travelers looking for a family-friendly festive activity are sure to find it in Rocky Ridge Park, at 3699 Deininger Road, about a mile and a half south of U.S. Route 30, off Mt. Zion Road.

According to The York Daily Record, Christmas Magic (Christmas Magic – A Festival of Lights in Rocky Ridge Park) began in 1984, originally with a small budget and 10,000 lights.

It’s changed some since then.

Below are the top three reasons to visit this scenic lightshow.

Reason 1: It’s one of the biggest lights shows in South Central Pennsylvania

According to, Christmas Magic – A Festival of Lights boasts close to 600,000 lights, outdoing the popular Hershey Sweet Lights, in Hershey.

(Undeniably spectacular and equally worth visiting, according to, NOEL in Hersheypark, in The Hollow, has about 250,000 lights, and then there’s Hershey Sweet Lights, a tour. Hersheypark notes that, in total, its Christmastime displays have 5 million glittering lights, including its Christmas Candylane.)

Photo courtesy government of York County, Pennsylvania

Reason 2: The scenic setting

Christmas Magic is held annually at Rocky Ridge Park. The lights are shown along a half-mile easily accessible trail surrounded by woods and light-up candy canes.

For nature lovers, this is a great way to get the best of two worlds – with the woodland setting and the Christmas-lights show.

Reason 3: It’s not all about lights and hiking

This event often is a venue for more than lights, featuring beverages and entertainment.

This year, the event will feature a cookie and hot chocolate stand by Friends of the Parks and a train display by the Susquehanna Valley Garden Railway Society.

The county said Santa and entertainment will not be on hand this year, and that no dogs are allowed. Government-mandated COVID requirements at specific times they are advised will be in place.

Come out for the lights and nature trail and stay for the cookies, hot chocolate and train display!

Photo courtesy government of York County, Pennsylvania

If you go

Tickets for Christmas Magic Festival of Lights went on sale on Nov. 15, and the event will be open to the public from Nov. 25 to Dec. 30, Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and senior citizens, and children 15 and older. Tickets for children 6 to 14 are $5. Children 5 and younger are admitted for free.

Ticket buyers must select a time to visit the display.

The event will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Tickets must be purchased online and are nonrefundable, but credits will be issued if the county closes the display because of bad weather or power outages.

The county notes that people must bring a coupon or ticket with them. They can be displayed on mobile phones. Damaged tickets will not be honored.

For more information visit  this York County government page that features a frequently-asked-questions document.

Lins is a Central Penn communications student enrolled this term in a feature-writing class at the college.

Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.