Bright Nights at Forest Park

...a dazzling display of Holiday Lights.

Kay McCarte

What? You've never heard of "Bright Nights" at Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts? No, I hadn't. We were planning a day bus trip for the Sodality at St. Mary's Church and this was the trip we decided on.

We left Melrose about 9:30 a.m., drove out on the Mass Pike to Holyoke where we stopped at the Christmas Tree Shop in the Holyoke Mall. Then off to the Springfield Sheraton where we had a delightful lunch and enjoyed a Christmas Show, which was a lot of fun. Then, back on the bus, we headed for the main destination - "Bright Nights at Forest Park."

As the bus went through the entrance we were greeted by a large "Welcome" sign surrounded by poinsettias in dazzling lights. The bus driver put out the lights of the bus as we traveled down the road at about five miles an hour past a beautiful American Flag with the words, "God Bless America" and by the new "Peace Garden" dedicated to the victims and heroes of September 11th.

In Seussland the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat were on one side of the road with Whoville and several of the little Whos on the other. Noah's Ark, with the animals, two by two, and Toyland, Candyland, the North Pole Village, the Barney Estate and a Victorian Village, complete with frogs leaping into a pool, drew delighted comments from the passengers.

The Spirit of the Season is represented by a beautiful Menorrah, the candles of Kwanzaa and the Nativity scene, complete with the three kings.

As we arrived at the Winter Woods display, would you believe, the lights all went out. We waited for about 20 minutes, hoping they would come back on, but they didn't. (That display is presented by Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which got a laugh from us.) We will just have to go back to see the deer leaping over the roadway.

Another new display this year is one representing the municipal buildings in Springfield. Giant Candles surrounded by Poinsettias bid us farewell as we exited the Park.

With about 500,000 lights, it is a spectacular sight and has to be seen to be believed. For more information they have a web site - - which will give you more information regarding directions, times, prices, etc.  I know it's a long drive out there but, if you are in the vicinity, it is not to be missed.

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