The Lights of Clifton Mill will open to the general public the day after Thanksgiving

Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill: 3 things you might not know

For those who live in the greater Springfield area, there aren’t many things that say Christmas more than the famous light show hosted by Clifton Mill every holiday season.

The display has been part of the community for years and shows no sign of stopping. But just how did it start and how much work goes into making up the festive light show every year?

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Here are three things you might not know about how Clifton Mill makes Springfield’s season bright.

1. A legend spanning decades

The first light show at Clifton Mill took place back in 1987. At the time, the display only featured 100,000 lights. Today, it now boasts more than 4 million lights and musical performances, which earned the site a 2014 Reader’s Choice Travel Award nomination in USA Today. It also has a miniature village and gift shop, as well as a restaurant that’s open year-round.

2. A three-month effort with unique results

Work on putting together the annual light show typically begins in August. It takes six people working for most of the three-month period to make sure all the lights are properly placed and maintained during the fall. Unlike most light shows, the lights of Clifton Mill are hand-crafted and not factory-made, so the light show is unique each year.

SLIDESHOW: The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

3. A special Santa collection

But the lights aren’t the only draw for the area during the holiday season. Clifton Mill’s Santa Museum also boasts one of the largest collections of Kris Kringle figurines in the county. The museum has more than 3,000 statuettes in the collection, collected over decades by the Satariano family that owns the property. Some of the figures date back as far as the 1800s.

Those wanting to see the magic for themselves won’t have to wait for long. The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill open to the public every year the day after Thanksgiving, and are open every evening barring inclement weather. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the light show starts at 6 p.m. It shuts down at 9 p.m., except for Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when they close at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and children under six can get in free.

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