A New Holiday Drive-Thru Will Twinkle in Costa Mesa

Night of Lights OC includes a "mile-long course" filled with lights, seasonal displays, and merry sights.

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

  • Dec. 3-Jan. 3 (nightly)
  • OC Fair & Event Center
  • $49.99 per vehicle, early bird admission; larger vehicles will be $69.99 (select nights only); community heroes will receive Monday discounts

Tell the kids to hop into their feetie pajamas or find their sweaters covered in snowmen, and then break out the candy box you had planned to save for Christmas.

Why? A new holiday-themed drive-thru experience is turning up the tinsel in Southern California.

However you load the family into the car, and what seasonal snacks or sweaters figure into your evening, almost matters not, for everyone approaches preparing for a Christmas-themed drive differently.

Something that's been a constant, though?

The OC Fair & Event Center has been a reliable source of holiday-fun festiveness, even in a year when we're safely observing social distancing and other precautions.

A spooky Halloween drive-thru popped up at the Costa Mesa earlier in the fall, adding eerie vibes to our autumn.

And now? A just-announced car-based spin on the yuletide will debut at the multi-acre spread on Dec. 3.

The name of the roll-on-through, ohh-ahh-from-your-automobile event?

It's called Night of Lights OC, "a clearly defined mile-long course featuring over one million lights, themed holiday scenery and characters including Santa (through Dec. 23rd), animated light shows and tunnels synchronized to music through a car radio or smartphone, special effects, a Christmas tree lighting spectacular, and more."

That's a caboodle of Christmas to admire from your car. But wait: You can order hot cocoa for the ride, and cinnamon sugar doughnuts, too, or even tamales if you're more in a dinner mood, all to up the Christmassy factor.

Just be sure to place your order your eats and drinks ahead, and then pick up your goodies when you enter the experience.

The team behind Night of Lights OC is the same group that has produced Winter Fest OC over the last six years. If you've been by that ho-ho-happening, you'll remember the ice rink, the sledding, and the giant tree, too.

There won't be skating in 2020, but a lot of the ebullient elements you recall from Winter Fest OC will be transformed into something sweet that can be enjoyed from a backseat.

And even sweeter?

A bevy of community heroes, including teachers, our military members, medical workers, and firefighters, can enjoy discounted tickets over four Mondays (just check the specific special on the Monday you're interested in before you buy).

"The 6th annual Winter Fest OC is excited to return in a different format in these unprecedented times as the demand from the community has been overwhelming with families looking for alternative ways to still celebrate the holidays," said Katrina Carlson, executive producer of Night of Lights OC.

"Night of Lights OC is an immersive event that allows everyone to safely experience the magic of the season and keep annual holiday traditions alive."

Get ticket info now, and more on what Monday you'll want to focus on, if you're one of the community heroes that the fest is celebrating with a well-deserved entrance discount.

Sparkle sparkle: The celebration continues, in our cars, at the OC Fair & Event Center this December and early January.

Contact Us