Archive for the ‘Festival of Lights’ Category

The Holiday Spirit of Competiton

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Ffest logoor those of you who need a little friendly competition to get you into the holiday spirit, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights has just the fix. The tenth annual Festival will be offering three holiday contests. 

Cash prizes are awarded to top three in each contest. Please, download an entry form and read all the rules before beginning your project- this listing only mentions the highlights of each competition!

Holiday Stocking Competition

  • Bring your homemade stocking to the Fairgrounds between November 17-21 for judging
  • All stockings will remain on display at the Festival of Lights (through Dec. 28)
  • Two divisions Junior (16 and under) and Adult (17+)
  • Judging is based on technicality, creativity, and eye appeal
  • Stockings will be eligible to win a “People’s Choice Award,” based on votes from guests at the Festival of Lights.

Click here for more information and contest entry

Wreath Decorating Competition

  • Bring your artificial wreath to the Fairgrounds between November 17-21 for judging
  • All wreaths will remain on display at the Festival of Lights (through Dec. 28)
  • Judging is based on technicality, creativity, and eye appeal
  • Wreaths will be eligible to win a “People’s Choice Award,” based on votes from guests at the Festival of Lights. TK8A0542

Click here for more information and contest entry

Gingerbread Decorating Competition

  • You must pre-register for this competition – and space is limited
  • Participants must bring all of their own disassembled pieces and embellishments
  • Everything used must be edible
  • Judging is based on difficulty, appearance, and originality
  • Competitors must race against the clock to construct and decorate the best gingerbread house

Click here for more information and contest entry

Illumination Insider: All New! North Pole Experience

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

fest logo

See the making of a Holiday showcase like never seen before, created by local set/prop designer Ron Daugherty. 

“Ok, here it is.” Ron Daugherty stood in hazy darkness as the lights finally came on in his prop warehouse in Buffalo. His shrug and nonchalant attitude nowhere near matched the monstrous set that was coming into focus behind him.

Standing sixteen feet tall and nearly forty feet wide was a porch; no it was more like the front of a house. Situated beside it was a small gathering of intricately detailed and colorful buildings- a village nearly cowering in the shadow of a house- what could it all be?


Anyone who knows Dougherty or his work would assume that this is another one of his internationally known haunted or Halloween displays. However, this was a stark break from his normal. What was sitting in that warehouse were pieces of what is going to be the biggest, best and most intricate Santa display in the area. Named the North Pole Experience, the display will cover nearly  10,000 square feet. 

In February, the sketch arrived at the Fairgrounds illustrating four distinct areas of what will become the new North Pole Experience. The sketch could not do justice to what was being assembled in the warehouse.


The quaint village wasn’t small- it was elf sized. It will soon be decorated for Christmas and inhabited by animatronic elves and situated around a Christmas Tree to create Santaville.

Stacked against a wall were what looked like slabs of wood haphazardly organized with no regard to color, size or cut. Daugherty pointed at the pile and said “there’s the workshop.” Implying that that pile of wood was all ready to be moved to the Fairgrounds to become an inside look at Santa’s Workshop. The scene will be completed with elves hard at work.


Now to the porch- the focal point of the North Pole Experience. The porch will be where guests can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus- right at their own home. Santa’s house will without a doubt be the most extravagant meeting place for the Big Guy in Western New York. When complete the porch will feature an ornate chair, Christmas decorations, and a sign to remind all who come just whose house it is.


For the fourth and final portion of the North Pole Experience, guests will walk through “Penguinpalooza.” The artic themed space has yet to be constructed, but don’t worry- the rest of the items only took two months to complete. This area will have an artic feel with the Northern Lights shining above and flocks of decorative penguins lining the path out of the building.

Waiting in line for Santa will never be more fun than at the North Pole Experience- which can only be seen at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. This interactive and magical experience is included in your carload admission. The attention to detail in the display will make it the standout attraction of the tenth annual event, which opens its gates November 28th at 5:00pm and runs select dates through December 28th. For more information on the event, visit


Insider Bonus- Here is a photo of Santa’s Workshop before it was dissembled for transportation!


Introducing Walk Around Wednesdays!

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

For the first time ever the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights will offer a unique winter experience to WNY families…Walk Around Wednesdays!

Just like it sounds the Festival of Lights will open on Wednesdays and allow families to walk through the nearly two miles of lights. Bundle up and lace up your walking boots as you wander through nearly a half million twinkling bulbs.

Gates are open from 5pm-9pm on December 4,11 and 18. The whole experience is just $5 per group! The buildings will not be opened nor will there be vendors or shows available on this completely outdoor adventure.

But wait there’s more…


gearforadventure2_tiff.pngThis is your chance to give snowshoeing a try! Gear for Adventure will have snowshoes available to rent for the whole family. Snowshoes are just $5 per person to rent.

 Guests are also welcome to bring their own cross country skis and snowshoes to experience this holiday event (Weather Permitting).

* Friendly pets and responsible owners are welcome to this event! 

Let the Holiday Magic Begin…

Friday, November 15th, 2013


at the 9th Annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights.

What kind of  holiday magic are you talking about?  

The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, NY will be opening its gates for the 9th Annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. This annual tradition brings visitors from across WNY out on winter evenings to partake in family friendly holiday fun.  What began as a drive through of  light displays has turned into a winter wonderland full of activities for everyone, including rides, crafts, shows, and of course Santa.

That sounds good…but when is it? 

Opening day for the Festival of Lights is November 29 at 5pm. The rest of the dates are as follows: November 29-30, December 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-23, 27-29. Gates will be open from 5pm-9pm; however, buildings will remain open until 10pm.

Is this ‘magic’ going to break the bank?   

No Way! The Festival of Lights is affordable holiday fun. Carload admission is just $20. Busloads are $50. Save 50% with pre-sale tickets for just $10 at the Event Center Box Office (M-F, 9am-4:30pm) or at participating local Tops Friendly Markets locations. Pre-sale tickets are available until November 23rd.

Ok so we’re going. What will we do when we get there?  


Admission to the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights includes a drive through all new LED light displays. After (or before!) the drive through, you can park the car and stroll down the expanded 42nd Street for more holiday fun. Kids can play an interactive game at the Christmas Tree Forest or be a contestant at a KidsShow. Everyone in the family will enjoy a magic variety show with Erie County Fair favorite, Nels Ross. Make someone special a holiday gift at the Tops Winter Wonderland Workshop, then head outside for an all new animated light show on the Woodcarvers Building. End your day meeting holiday characters, reindeer or even the Big Guy himself, Santa Claus (until Dec. 23rd).

For an additional cost take a reindeer carriage ride, decorate a holiday cookie, snack on tasty concessions, ride the rides on Santa’s Magical Midway or warm up around the fire pit with a hot beverage. Pick up a gift for someone special at one of our holiday vendors, including a new Candy Shop.

 You can also check out the winners of the “Drug Free New Year” artwork and poetry contest as well as visit the 35 foot tall Christmas Tree, brought to you by WNY United.  Guests are also encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy for the Buffalo News Neediest Fund.

 There will be four holiday contests including cookie decorating, gingerbread house construction, a wreath making contest and an all new stocking decorating contest (which will replace ornament decorating). Find contest details and information at


The car is nice and warm and all… but what if I want to walk?  

Then we have just the thing for you! All NEW Walk-Around Wednesdays! If you are looking for a new way to see the Festival of Lights may choose to walk through the nearly two miles on select Wednesdays (12/4, 12/11, 12/18). Only the light displays will be available for viewing as the buildings will be closed. If you have always wanted to try snowshoeing, here is your chance! You have the opportunity to rent snowshoes onsite with the support of Gear for Adventure. Walk-Around Wednesdays run from 5pm-9pm and are just $5 per group (rentals not included).


For More Information call (716) 649-3900 ext. 6404 or visit our website at

Have Holiday Spirit? Like Winning? READ ON

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights will be hosting four unique holiday competitions. Three are returning favorites from years past but there has been one exciting new contest added for 2013!

Here are all the details and links you need to get you entered to win…get crafty WNY!


 Holiday Stocking Competition

Before you leave them “hung by the chimney with care” enter your best decorated stocking at the Festival of Lights

-There are two divisions:  juniors (17 and under) and adults (18 and up)
-Stockings will be judged on eye appeal, technicality, and creativity
-Completed stockings can be dropped off at the Fairgrounds Main Office between 11/18 and 11/22



Click here for more information and contest entry 


Holiday Cookie Competition

Bring those cookies your family has been raving about for years to the Festival of Lights for the chance to win a $100 Tops Friendly Markets Gift Card. 

-There are two classes:  undecorated cookies and decorated cutouts
-Bring 3 cookies on a disposable plate to the Festival of Lights on December 8th between 2pm-4pm
-All cookies must be made from scratch and include a recipe

 Click here for more information and contest entry



 Wreath Decorating Competition

Have your best wreath on exhibit for more than just your holiday guests!

-Decorate your best artificial wreath (maximum 30 inches) 
-Contest is limited to the first 30 entrants
-Judging is based on eye appeal, technicality, and creativity
-Wreaths will be on display at the Festival of Lights for guest to vote on the “People’s Choice” winner

-Drop wreaths off at the Fairgrounds Main Offices between 11/18 and 11/22

Click here for more information and contest entry


Gingerbread Contest 

Build your gingerbread creation LIVE at the Festival of Lights

-Pre-registration required and limited to the first 8 entrants
-Basic pieces will be provied but you must bring your own embelllishments
-Everything goes, as long as it is completely edible
-Judging is based on difficulty, appearance, and originality
-Construction will take place on December 1st beginning at 4:30pm

Click here for more information and contest entry



Roses are red, violets are blue…

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

I say “no” to drugs and you should too!  

The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights will be teaming up with WNY United and Evans Bank to help students in our community show how they say “no” to drugs and alcohol through an artwork and poetry contest!

Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can submit their best original artwork or piece of poetry that illustrates how and why they say “no”  to drugs and alcohol. The winners in each age group will be invited to a special event held at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights to celebrate their achievements as well as walk away with a custom trophy, designed by Crazy Steel Iron Art.

WNY United has reached out to schools across WNY to enroll students into this contest, however, students may enter independently. Last year there were 646 entries and this year we are hoping for an even greater response.

There are two contests, the poetry and the artwork, so make sure you read all the guidelines for your particular category before you get to work!  

Judging will be done by our friends at Crowley Webb and Travers Collins & Co.  based on clarity, creativity and craftsmanship. The age groups for each contest will be K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

Those who would like to enter can click here for all the details.


The People Have Chosen Their Favorite Ornament

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

We would like to congratulate Dawn Schultz of West Seneca for winning the “People’s Choice” with her penguin light bulb ornament at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Tree Ornament Competition.

 There were 33 exhibitors that entered handmade ornaments into the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Tree Ornament Competition at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.  There were over 600 votes from visitors to the festival.  The winner of the people’s choice award, by a  landslide, for the Tree Ornament Competition was Dawn Schultz of West Seneca, New York with her penguin light bulb ornament.

Click here to check out a photo of the winning ornament.

Congratulations To The Winning Bakers In The Holiday Cookie Competition

Monday, December 12th, 2011

34 exhibitors entered their delicious cookies into the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Holiday Cookie Competition on Sunday at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg.  Below is a list of the winners.  Congratulations to the winners!


1st Place – Rita Gabel of Lawtons with her Fudge Tartlets

2nd Place – Jeannette Pawlak of Buffalo with her Venetians/Neapolitans

3rd Place – Kim Solly of Orchard Park with her Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies


1st Place- Christine Enser of Springville with her Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

2nd Place- Debra Vertoske of Lancaster with her Mini Gingerbread Birdhouse Recipe

3rd Place- Dawn Fleming of Orchard Park with her Christmas Cutout Cookies