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Lights! Ice! Action! Festival of Lights continues holiday tradition

Fairgrounds Festival of Lights

Santa will be there. More than one million lights will be twinkling. Intricate ice sculptures will be carved.

The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights was scheduled to kick off Friday night in Hamburg. One weekend highlight includes the Second Annual Great Lakes International Ice Carving Competition.  Marketing Manager Marty Biniasz said some giant ice creations will be the size of a car and will have intricate designs.

“The competitors are coming in from Canada, from the United States, from Croatia, from China, from Japan,” Biniasz said. “We’ve got eight states that are being represented by carvers. A lot of these carvers are some of the greatest culinary directors and food artists in the world, and they’re going to be here in Hamburg this weekend only.”

Credit Fairgrounds Festival of Lights

Biniasz said the sculptures will be cooled and displayed for the entire festival.

The festival includes a drive-thru that allows people to view brilliantly-lit displays that feature more than one million lights.

“Once you do go through that drive, you get out of your car and we’ve got six fully decorated buildings, and some of these buildings are absolutely spectacular,” Biniasz said. “Set designers who have done major display work and decorations at department stores around the world have put together our North Pole Experience, which features Santa Claus.”

The North Pole exhibit features a 10,000-square-foot Santa display. Festival organizers call it the largest Santa display in the region. The festival also includes live family entertainment, craft making and vendors. Biniasz said the festival has a new attraction this year

Credit Fairgrounds Festival of Lights

“It’s called Frosty’s 3D Adventure, and for this, you put a pair of 3D glasses on and you walk through this maze. It really is a new spectacular attraction. 3,000 square feet is located inside our event center. So that’s going to be a must-see this year.”

Biniasz said set-up for the holiday extravaganza begins shortly after  the Erie County Fair ends. One buildings is home to vintage amusement rides from the 50s and 60s. There will also be train rides through the festival grounds.

Admission is $25 per carload at the gate. For more information, go to the-fairgrounds.com/festival-lights.