Illumination: Symphony of Light––A new drive-thru holiday attraction lights up the North Valley
A new drive-thru holiday attraction lights up the North Valley.
By Michelle Talsma Everson
Photos by Shannon Fisher Photography
While we may not live in a winter wonderland, imaginative locals still find ways to make the holidays memorable. One new North Valley attraction that is poised to become an instant holiday mainstay is Illumination: Symphony of Light, the state’s newest and largest drive-thru holiday light show located off of the I-17 and Jomax.
Brought to the Valley by local businessmen Simon Kreisberger and Ronny Urman, Illumination is a drive-thru attraction that “immerses visitors in millions of holiday lights carefully synchronized to joyful holiday classics played over their FM dials,” according to the team behind the attraction. Both Kreisberger and Urman say that the attraction uses the most advanced hardware and software lighting in the world.
After the drive-thru lights display—which takes about 25 minutes and is a little over a mile long—visitors can get out of their cars to visit Holiday Boulevard. The boulevard includes a kids’ jumper area, a 30-foot tree spiral light sculpture, food trucks, Santa’s village, a giant snowman, walk-thru ornament, and more.
“The team behind Illumination is a group of passionate and dedicated parents and local business owners who love Arizona and everything it stands for,” says Sallyann Martinez, the attraction’s marketing director. “The Phoenix area has been a big wonderful part of our lives, where we have raised our children. There was always just a sense of the holiday spirit that’s been missing here in the Valley and we wanted to bring the winter wonderland that all children should be able to experience during the holiday season that we have seen others enjoy in different places around the country. We feel this is our opportunity to really make a difference and bring joy to every girl and boy in the Valley.”
Martinez adds that Kreisberger, who owns the Play Factory at Desert Ridge Marketplace, brings “many years of experience working in this type of industry, including holiday light displays and attractions at other locations in Arizona” to Illumination. “His creativity and passion for this project are what makes it really unique,” she adds.
“There are other drive-thru attractions across the country and a couple in Arizona, but nothing quite like Illumination,” Martinez assures.
Martinez describes building Illumination as a labor of love. She says that more than 250 people were involved in the creation of the attraction—from creating the metal displays (which were built here in Arizona) to installing all of the lights and design. The goal, she says, is to give the Valley a new, state-of-the-art holiday tradition.
“[Illumination includes] more than a million and a half lights, including state-of-the-art RGB LED lights, which have the ability to display 16 million shades per bulb,” she explains. “In addition, we have integrated video into our light show, which has not been done before. One of my favorite displays in the attraction is our 40-foot RGB tree that sits directly in the middle of Illumination. The way the programmers has created visual effects on it just makes me smile every time I look at it.”
When asked about possible expansion in the future, the team at Illumination notes that there is always room for growth. “For now, we’re just focusing on having a successful inaugural year and making a lot of people happy this holiday season,” Martinez says.
While some might be worried about long lines and waiting times at Illumination, those behind the project say that, when a visiting car first drives in off the service road into the attraction, that they can handle approximately 300 cars at one time to prevent as much congestion as possible.
“The community has been extremely welcoming and seems to be genuinely excited about the attraction,” she says. “Many families are excited about having such an amazing holiday display in the North Phoenix area.”
When it comes to price, Martinez and the Illumination team believe that the light show is an affordable family outing during the holiday season.
“We love that we can offer our guests such an affordable attraction during this time of year. You only need one ticket per car, up to eight people,” she says. “Each car is only $29.50 in advance when purchasing tickets online; and it’s $35 at the gate.”
Food, beverages, and other activities (such as the kids’ jumper area) in Holiday Boulevard are a separate cost though. Also, a holiday rate of $32 will be in effect from Dec. 22 through 31.
“We know that the holidays can be costly at times, and wanted to create an opportunity for our community to rejoice and truly enjoy the holiday spirit without adding additional financial concern,” Martinez adds. “We are grateful for the experiences that living in Arizona provides for our families, and hope that we can create a magical new tradition for our community in return.”
In the spirit of the holidays, there are some nonprofit ties to the attraction.
“We will be partnering with Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) Foundation and other local charities this holiday season, and giving back to the community in a variety of ways,” Martinez says.
Illumination: Symphony of Lights will run nightly beginning at 6 p.m. through January 14, 2018. To learn more, visit illuminationaz.com.
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