The hills of will sparkle with hundreds of colorful holiday lights, starting Saturday, Dec. 3 when the annual Festival of Lights for Peace opens.
The illuminated display dates back to the late 1970s and has become a holiday tradition in Delaware County. This year, holiday lights will also adorn the historic , now the , located in Rose Tree Park.
The public is invited to the festival’s opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The program will feature remarks by , holiday music performed by the Chorus, hot cocoa, a visit from Santa Claus and the traditional lighting of the trees.
The Rose Tree Tavern will also be open during the lighting ceremony and people are invited to tour the building and enjoy holiday cookies and wassail punch from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Each year for three decades, the festival lights up the Rose Tree Park landscape with 70 sparkling trees and colorful displays that depict toy soldiers, a miniature courthouse, Santa and his sleigh, Frosty the Snowman, and Snoopy and the Peanuts gang.
Jeff Rudolph, newly elected president of the County Parks and Recreation Board, will announce Santa’s arrival on Dec. 3.
Council announced the 2011 Festival of Lights at the Tuesday, Nov. 29, council meeting along with Parks and Recreation Director Marc Manfre. The festival runs through Jan. 2 and is open nightly from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. People are invited to walk through the displays, or observe them from their car.
"Every year, council is pleased to present this holiday display for the enjoyment of our families," said Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan. "The Festival of Lights is a wonderful, free activity for people of all ages. Seeing the lights, whether you are walking in the park, or driving by, puts you in the holiday spirit."
In 2009, the Festival of Lights was revitalized with the addition of 10,000 LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights donated by PECO. LED light bulbs save money and energy because they burn longer, use less energy and are less fragile and more resistant to cold winter temperatures.
The Festival of Lights is free and open to the public.