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Magical Nights of Lights celebrates 25 years
Lanier Islands brings back 12 Days of Christmas, adds giant tree
11232017 LIGHTS
Magical Nights of Lights launched in mid-November, but this week you can catch a deal to enter Lake Lanier's traditional light show. Photo courtesy of Lanier Islands.

A classic is back just in time for the 25th anniversary of the Magical Nights of Lights at Lanier Islands. 

The winding tour of light displays will once again include the 12 Days of Christmas. 

“Because we had been here for so long, we had taken down the 12 Days of Christmas because it needed work,” said Missy Burgess, director of public relations and sponsorships. “People really missed it, and it was a big piece of the show. This year we refurbished it to bring it back into the show and it looks fantastic.”

The 13-display attraction joins a long list of other much-loved displays such as Santa’s Elves at Work, the North Pole Express, Jack & The Beanstalk, the Wizard of Oz, the Poinsettia Candelabra, the Icicle Tunnel and the Carousel.

A new addition this year is a 65-foot Christmas tree set atop a giant drum at the clock tower roundabout.

Burgess called it a “showstopper” and an “‘oh, wow’ moment.” 

Magical Nights of Lights

When: 5-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 3

Where: Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford

How much: $45 per vehicle at the gate; $35 online

More info:

The tour of lights began Nov. 20, 1993, with 40 displays and trees strung with lights.

Since then, it has expanded to include hundreds of displays spread throughout a seven-mile drive throughout the resort.

“It used to be the only place in town; we were one of the very first light shows in Georgia and certainly the largest,” Burgess said. “People have continued to do this tradition not only growing up with their families, but now with children of their own. They love it so much and have that memory to share with their children. Their own Christmas memory really is so special and we hear those stories over and over.”

Universal Concepts has designed the tour and assembled each display since 1993.

“As a native of Atlanta who grew up on Lake Lanier, it was a dream come true to be invited by the State of Georgia to conceive, build and implement a holiday light show right in my own backyard,” Greg Fulwood of Universal Concepts said in a news release. “It is amazing to see how Magical Nights of Lights has grown.”

As guests wind their way through the resort, they’ll find themselves at the Holiday Village inside LanierWorld.

“What really sets us apart from everyone else, is that this happens in the car,” Burgess said of the light tour. “The first part of the experience happens together inside the vehicle; it is like a private experience in a public event. You get to experience the lights, music and it really is a family experience that you get to do together. 

“When you get out at Holiday Village, you have shopping, you can roast marshmallows, Santa Claus is there and there are carnival rides for all ages.”

Discounts to the event will be available with donations to charity.

“On Mondays, guests can bring five nonperishable items to the gate to donate to Georgia Mountain Food Bank; Tuesday we gather unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots; and then we have Educator Wednesdays where teachers and employees of any school system can bring a valid school district ID to get in at the discounted price,” Burgess said.

The display opened Nov. 17. Lanier Islands is located at 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway in Buford. For more information, visit

“We’re very proud of the fact that Lanier Islands is not only a cherished part of so many families’ holiday traditions, but that we’re flipping the switch on 25 years of Magical Nights of Lights,” said Mike Williams, CEO for Lanier Islands, in a news release. “A quarter of a century — that’s really saying something.”

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