A Must-See: 2021 Oneonta, NY ‘Festival of Lights’ Is Almost Over
The 2021 Festival of Lights in Oneonta, NY is winding down but you still have time to enjoy this free drive-thru holiday light display event. The last night of it has been extended to January 3 according to Carol Mandigo, Festival Coordinator from First Night Oneonta.
I have already gone through The Festival of Lights a couple of times and really enjoyed it. For those who loved it last year and haven't been yet, make a point to drive through it because it's much bigger and better than last year. It's so big in fact, that it can easily be seen from Lettis Highway and I-88.
If you enjoy it this year, consider thanking First Night Oneonta, a volunteer-run group that has brought the greater Oneonta community an alcohol-free family New Year's Eve celebration for many years. This is the second year they have the Festival of Lights to Oneonta's Neahwa Park for the holiday season. This was a hugely popular holiday attraction last year, created to bring the spirit of the holiday season to the community at large in a safe way during the COVID-19 crisis. My family and I enjoyed it three times last year since it was so fun.
First Night Oneonta dedicates this holiday light event again this year to the late John Hayen and his family. John, a former long-time Oneonta resident and employee here at Townsquare Media Oneonta and dubbed as "Mr. Christmas", passed away last year and has always had one of the best holiday light displays in the Oneonta area which people would forward to enjoying every year. It's fitting that this holiday light show be held in his honor since he loved the holidays more than anyone I know! Below is a photo of John's holiday lights, decorating his property back in 2017.
This drive-thru holiday event will run daily through Jan 3 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm in Neahwa Park in Oneonta and features a wide variety of lighted holiday displays created by community members and organizations. Up to $2000 in prizes will be awarded for the best displays.
Thanks to sponsorship from Five Star Subaru and Cleinman Performance Partners who are providing the prize money for this event.
There will be a special evening with live entertainment on December 31. Vehicles should enter Neahwa Park from the Main St. entrance and will exit on Market St.
Below you can see photos of the displays in this year's event but don't let this be a replacement for attending. The in-person experience is hands-down way better than viewing the photos.