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16 FANTASTIC FANTASY IN LIGHTS FACTS
For more than 20 years, Fantasy In Lights continues to be the most incredible holiday light and sound show in the South – and among the top 10 in the world! Here are a few fun facts from behind the scenes:
FANTASY IN LIGHTS HISTORY
The seed was planted, appropriately enough, by Virginia Hand Callaway. Mrs. Callaway, who was so instrumental in making Callaway Gardens one of the world’s great botanical paradises, was the first to dream of a Christmas lights show at the Pine Mountain, Ga., retreat that she co-founded with her husband, Cason Callaway.
Virginia Callaway often thought back to her childhood and the Christmas light displays she enjoyed on lawns in her hometown of Pelham, Ga. Her vision gradually took shape over the years, and in 1992 Callaway Gardens flipped the switch on Fantasy In Lights, bringing to life the first major holiday light show in Georgia.
Fantasy In Lights opened with five displays that touched hearts and evoked fond memories of holidays past. March of the Toy Soldiers, Magical Christmas Garden, Snowflake Valley, Twin Trees and FIL the Frog all were custom-made for Callaway by the late Ken Dresser and Dennis Despie. Dresser (1938-1995) was considered one of the world’s best graphic artists in the field of large-scale event productions, including float designs for Disneyland’s renowned Main Street Electric Parade. He joined forces with Despie, who had been Disney’s vice president of entertainment before forming his own company, Select Productions.
Fantasy In Lights grew quickly, adding new scenes each year and expanding the Christmas Village, an indoor shopping and hospitality area. Fantasy In Lights today comprises 15 displays and 8 million lights – enough to illuminate more than 26,000 six-foot tall Christmas trees! Yet for all of its larger-than-life drama, Fantasy In Lights is an intimate experience – one that has created Christmas traditions and priceless memories for countless families. We hope you will join us as we extend those beloved traditions again this year.
In 2016, under the direction of President and CEO William R. Doyle, a new scene titled Snow Day was added to Fantasy In Lights to mark the occasion of the 25th showing of Fantasy In Lights. Concepted by Director of Recreation Andy Brown and created by Ms. Bobbie West, a longtime partner of Fantasy In Lights and Callaway Gardens.
Swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing on Robin Lake
Climb and zip through the trees on this fun forest course
Meet over 1,000 colorful butterflies face-to-face
Discover the strength, speed, and beauty of these magnificent creatures
Explore Callaway’s 2,500 acres by foot or by bicycle
Drink in the beauty of azaleas, hydrangeas, and other woodland wonders
One of National Geographic’s Top 10 Holiday Light Displays
An authentic Georgia outdoor family getaway like no other
Enjoy mouthwatering, chef-prepared cuisine at an array of restaurants
Watch beautiful balloons aglow or enjoy your own tethered balloon ride
A night beneath the stars with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra
Tournament for the greatest athletes in competitive watersports
Some of the best lake fishing in the southeastern United States