In its 29th year, the festival of lights was recognized by the Wall Street Journal in 2004 as one of the top light shows in the country. But that was a long time ago and the parks department continues to add new and entertaining features to update the show, which kicks off Friday night and continues through Dec. 31.
"Jokingly, I say some of the stuff came from bad dreams I had," Jones said. "We're already planning for next year's event as we walk through this year's event."
Jones said he needs to see the full layout in order to activate his creative process. Trail additions and modifications this year include: a holiday scene by the SPCA, a "Christmas at the Beach" scene, new trail themes and Light-O-Rama synchronized lighting along the trail.
A new gingerbread house complex was constructed and a 12-foot-high volcano occupies a part of the playground. Lights are used to simulate lava spewing from the top, Jones said.
"No smoke yet. We're actually working on that," he added.
The Susquehanna Garden Railroad Society is back with a new train display and a larger layout. Plenty of food will be available for sale, including cookies, apple cider, popcorn and french fries.
By far the biggest news for Jones, however, is the changeover to 100-percent LED lighting, a move that makes the festival a little more green.
"It certainly takes much less electric to run and actually the colors are much brighter," Jones said. "We're excited about that."
Jones is hoping for great weather during the five-week event. Last year, nearly 44,000 people saw the show, a reflection of the unseasonably mild weather last December, he said.
"If we get bad weather or cold weather, we don't real well," he said.
Special opening times, discounted admissions and Santa visits can be arranged for civic organizations, scout troops or companies planning a holiday outing at the festival. Call Jones at 717-840-7226 for more details.
The park is accepting canned food items for the Parks Rangers' Food Drive. For information on trail updates and closings, call 717-840-7443.
- JOHN HILTON,
If you go
WHAT: The 29th annual Christmas Magic - A Festival of Lights at Rocky Ridge County Park
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Nov. 23 through Dec. 31. It is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
WHERE: Rocky Ridge County Park, 3699 Deininger Road, Springettsbury Township.
COST: Adults, $8; ages 4-12, $6; under age 4, free; seniors (ages 60 and older), $7; Children's group rate (12 or more), $5; adult group rate (12 or more), $7.
DETAILS: Call the hotline at 717-840-7443, visit www.yorkcountyparks.org or follow the parks on Twitter at @yorkcountyparks.