Newport News shines as it enlightens the holiday season

Shelly E. Ezanno, superintendent of special events and promotions, Newport News Parks, Recreation & Tourism, wants people to feel inspired and uplifted by NlightN. She says, “The community owns it, the businesses own it, the visitors own it — it belongs to everybody.” (Photo by Karen Eure Wilson)

That’s right! Newport News has a gift for the community, wrapped under the banner of BayPort Credit Union NlightN Holiday Event Series. This combination of three distinct major events, nestled geographically within the north, central and southeast areas of Newport News, undergirds the “one-city concept” that exemplifies unity throughout its thriving and flourishing communities.

The three events include the 27th Annual Celebration in Lights, Lights at the Fountain and ARTech Lights. These holiday festivities were designed to generate mass appeal to draw diverse audiences, create meaningful memories and provide continuous “Instagrammable moments.”

“We are not focusing on one holiday, one religion or one culture; we are including everyone around the community and around the world,” says Shelly E. Ezanno, superintendent of special events and promotions, Newport News Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “We want people to feel like they’ve been invited to a party because we all have something to celebrate!”

A holiday favorite continues to be Celebration in Lights at Newport News Park, located at the intersection of Fort Eustis Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue. As Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light spectacular, guests are treated to more than 300 individual display pieces and more than a million individual lights, 43 arches and three miles of lighting, enhancing a two-mile drive. Its animated festive theme illuminated within the beauty of the park continues to be a family tradition. From Thanksgiving night through January 1, 2020, 5:30 – 10 p.m., the longevity of this event of lights, love and community continues to warm hearts as it grows bigger and brighter. Admission costs can be found on the city’s website.

New to the city’s holiday lineup is the debut of ARTech Lights in Brooks Crossing on December 13, 3:30 – 8 p.m., in downtown Newport News. This innovative offering features a giant, animated, lighted double helix sculpture that shines nightly through December. Says Ezanno, “Its illumination will be celebrated with hands-on ‘Techtivities,’ food and beverage vendors, a bonfire, a ‘silent disco,’ fire performers, a DJ and a synthetic skating rink which will also be open Dec. 14th and 15th.”

In the center of the city is Lights at the Fountain in City Center at Oyster Point. Building on the successes of HollyDazzle and The Northern Lights, this year’s event cultivates an international flair through its theme, “Celebrate Holidays Around the World.” The event runs December 7 through 31, 5 – 9 p.m., with two Fountainside Festivals on December 7 and 14, 5 – 8 p.m.

This fun at the fountain combines state-of-the-art technology with interactive programming and light installations, strolling entertainment, holiday-inspired games, holiday market, kid’s crafts, Jingle & Mingle Lounges, Santa’s Workshop, international food vendors, a new 10-minute animated show and snow machines that wrap all the way around the fountain.

The gazebo will serve as the countdown ceremony stage on December 7 to premiere the new show. People will be given LED synchronized bracelets to be a part of the light show. The bracelets “talk to the trees” so guests are part of an interactive show where the five senses are affected. The USO Show Troupe will also grace the main stage on December 7 and 14, 5 – 6:45 p.m. All of these performances are customized and unique to allow guests to see and hear something different with each show.

“It’s all about inclusion, enlightenment and the profound influence and impact of art and technology in the city and how that’s moving into the city at a greater rate than it has before,” says Ezanno. “Our events focus on art, technology, science, engineering and math, with all of those industries coming together to make a positive impact on the city, influencing the overall experience one can have while living or visiting here.”

Beyond the lights and along the stretch of Newport News, residents and guests can enjoy the multiple events offered by Newport News. Ezanno says with a smile, “It’s more than just a good time — this is about caring about each other. NlightN is for everybody!”

TO THE POINT:
BayPort Credit Union NlightN Holiday Event Series
Phone: 757-926-1400
Website: nnva.gov/NlightN

Karen Eure Wilson
About Karen Eure Wilson 22 Articles
Karen Eure Wilson is a mother, an evangelist, entrepreneur, print journalist, author, speaker and broadcast producer. She entered the world of journalism as a mass media major at Hampton University and honed those skills as a public affairs specialist at Fort Eustis and Langley AFB. In this "second season" of her life, she has coined the term "DIP" (deliberate, intentional and protective) as her map for navigating the adventures and opportunities that lie ahead. Karen wrote for the Oyster Pointer for three years, 2010 - 2013, and happily returns to help highlight the great people and programs of Newport News and the surrounding area.

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