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A drive to light up your life
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Magical Nights of Lights

What: A drive-through light display

Where: Lake Lanier Islands Resort, 7000 Holiday Road, Buford

When: 5 to 10 p.m. nightly starting Saturday through Dec. 30

How much: $30 per car Monday through Thursday, $40 per car Friday through Sunday; $70 per passenger van and $200 per bus

More info: 770-932-7221

Nothing puts you into the Christmas spirit like Christmas lights.

And if you’re looking for that jolt of electricity to get you feeling the Christmas spirit, drive on over to Lake Lanier Islands Resort, where millions of little light bulbs merrily flicker and dance.

Starting Saturday, Lake Lanier Islands turns on its annual holiday light display, 7.8 miles of lit clock towers, items from the 12 days of Christmas, snowflakes and synchronized flashing tunnels. And because the resort has been renovating this past year, the route has been updated and expanded for this season, said Lake Lanier Islands’ Chief Operating Officer Grier Todd.

"We’ve actually got some new fixtures, we moved a few ones around; with our new road system here on the island, it’s a new layout," he said. "It’s going to be a neat show this year."

The new drive winds past a clock tower and lit flags as part of the new features, he said.

The new lights were specially picked to go with an overall "traditional" holiday theme, Todd said, which focuses on light display themes that come from children’s stories and biblical characters. There are bears, candy canes and dancers, all adorned in lights.

"We kind of look at what we think ... might fit in the area and kind of stays with the overall holiday theme," he said. "We try not to get too modern; we stay traditional."

And two favorites from last year will be returning this year: The live nativity, organized by Blackshear Place Baptist Church, and Santa’s Village, a festival at the end of the ride with a bonfire for cooking marshmallows and hot chocolate.

The live nativity starts Dec. 4

"You always have the marshmallow pit — that’s a must," Todd said. "That’s the most popular thing. Kids just love to roast those marshmallows. You can bring your own if you want, but we do sell the sticks."

Discount coupons are available at Lake Lanier Islands’ Web site and also at Publix, McDonald’s and Bass Pro Shops. Also, 104.7-FM The Fish, 97.1-FM The River and B98.5-FM have special nights when they offer discount coupons. Depending on the night, patrons can get $15 off per car from the radio station promotions.

"We wanted to do it this year; we felt like with the economy like it is, just kind of a tradition for folks, and wanted to make sure everybody had an opportunity to come," Todd said.

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