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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Willow Hill Lights offer dazzling local holiday activity

We went out and experienced the drive-thru light show; here is our review
Near the start of the drive, a reindeer appears to float across the sky.

Driving on Willow Road, it’s impossible to miss the Willow Hill Lights; with the sun setting before 5 p.m., these beaming illuminations are bound to catch anyone’s eye. This year marks the third annual Willow Hill Lights holiday event, but it wasn’t until this year that we decided to purchase a ticket to this drive-thru experience.

Leaving the light show, we felt immersed in the holiday spirit and excited for the upcoming festivities.

The light show is open to visitors from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week, but the tickets can be purchased any time of the day on the show’s website. There are two ticket prices, depending on the vehicle of your choice. If you drive a car, it would cost $40 plus tax, or $60 plus tax for a bus. Although the experience price may be expensive, a portion of the profit goes toward TotalLink2 Community, a local non-profit focused on enriching the lives of those in the Chicagoland area with disabilities. Additionally, the more people per car, the cheaper the cost per person. 

We opted to experience the show in a car: the 2.5 mile drive ended up costing us $43.67 and lasted 25 minutes. However, a great aspect of this experience is that it has no time limit; you can stay for as little or long as you want.

As we entered the show, multiple workers were stationed at different points to help direct the cars, making the route easy to follow. One of the workers made sure to tell us to tune in to 89.9 FM; this station provided festive music to listen to as we drove. After quickly scanning our QR code tickets, we began our drive.

One of the first things we noticed were the many sponsorships supporting the show, one of these being from the neighboring business, Pinstripes. This Pinstripes sign advertised the opportunity for a free flatbread after visiting the lights, which in our opinion is a pretty good deal.

This show had over 1 million lights, and many caught our attention, especially the 12 Days of Christmas scene, the abominable snowman, and the enormous Christmas tree at the top of the hill. However, Christmas was not the only holiday represented; there was a whole section dedicated to Hanukkah, including an eight-candle menorah and a dreidel. We loved how representative these lights were of multiple holidays.

As we moved along the drive, each light scene kept getting better and better; each scene was detailed and engaging, with changing light patterns that held our attention. 

Our favorite part of this drive was no doubt the light tunnel. This 250-foot-long animated tunnel was breathtaking with its various changing light patterns. At this point, we stopped our car just to watch the lights and enjoy the show while listening to festive music. 

Leaving the light show, we felt immersed in the holiday spirit and excited for the upcoming festivities. We couldn’t stop raving about our experience. These weeks leading up to the winter break are stressful for many, but this light show provides a quick escape from this busy time.

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