FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Blue Jacket announced Monday it is expanding its annual Fantasy of Lights event by opening over a week early and using that extra time to give back to the community through free admission to the holiday event and new, exciting activities.
The Fantasy of Lights, now in its 26thseason, traditionally kicks off on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but will open early this year on Nov. 13. Admission will remain $10 per car to experience the nearly 2-mile route which will feature at least 127 scenes made up of over 425 displays, 7 more scenes than last year.
Ancillary activities from recent years like hunting for a hidden display will be repeated, but Santa’s Cottage providing free popcorn and hot cocoa will be closed due to COVID concerns. However, Blue Jacket is planning for a grander experience, in the open air, that will give patrons something much more to look forward to before the Christmas Holiday. Details will be released at a later date.
“There’s no question 2020 has been rough on so many levels,” said Donnell Miller, Blue Jacket’s Board President. “For 15 years Blue Jacket has been a part of the solution to provide a better workforce. Here, we have an opportunity to be a part of the solution by being a better community partner, especially those on the front lines, during this tumultuous year. We want Christmas to come early for those families.”
Blue Jacket is announcing a number of free admission and themed nights. The Fantasy of Lights will be open to the public at 6 PM every night – refer to the schedule for the days closed to the public. For free entrance during assigned nights; teachers, first responders, military active duty and veterans must show proper identification. Nursing homes must enter with branded vehicles full of their residents and on one of the nights, a vehicle decorated with the Christmas spirit gets in free. Blue Jacket will also provide a night for bike riders to enjoy an evening on Sunday, Nov. 22ndwhere adults pay $5, any child under 15 years of age gets in free.
Another new activity this year will award a family the opportunity to flip a bigger-than-life switch to illuminate the displays and kick off the new season at the Grand Opening on November 13. See the website at fwfantasyoflights.com or the Facebook Page @BJIFantasyOfLights to enter the 30-second video submission for a chance to win.
- Friday, Nov. 13: Grand Opening (Public welcome, regular admission)
- Saturday, Nov. 14: Teachers Free Night (Public regular admission)
- Sunday, Nov. 15: First Responders Free Night (Public regular admission)
- Monday, Nov. 16: Military Free Night (Public regular admission)
- Tuesday, Nov. 17: Pay what you want Night (Entry fee is a donation)
- Wednesday, Nov. 18: Decorated Car Free Night (Public regular admission)
- Thursday, Nov. 19: Nursing Homes Free Night (Public regular admission)
- Friday, Nov. 20: Fort4Fitness 2K walk (Registrants only, closed to vehicles)
- Saturday, Nov. 21: Fort4Fitness 5K run/walk (Registrants only, closed to vehicles)
- Sunday, Nov. 22: $5 Bike Ride (Closed to vehicles)
- Monday, Nov. 23: ‘Golden Ticket’ Partner Appreciation
- Tuesday, Nov. 24 – Dec. 31: Open Every Night
For the third year in a row, Blue Jacket is “putting its mission on full display” by hiring its Career Academy graduates to staff the event. Blue Jacket’s mission is to provide training and opportunities to anyone with a barrier who is striving to earn gainful employment.