Monday, November 22, 2010

Speedway lights up for Christmas season

Carolina Christmas, a new 2.5-mile drive-through Christmas light park and village, opens tonight on the track and infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.

The celebration -- set to begin just after 5:30 p.m. -- will include fireworks; the lighting of the Carolina Christmas display, featuring more than a million lights and 500 different displays; and an appearance by Santa.

The attraction opens to the public at 6 p.m., and through Jan. 2, will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly. Tickets ($20 per carload) are available online and at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. For details, click here.

Carowinds gets the Xmas treatment, too

The theme park's display -- a tradition since 1983 -- will illuminate the sky beginning Nov. 26. Standing more than 40 feet tall and using more than 5,000 lights, the star at the top of the Carolina Skytower (more than 300 feet tall itself) will shine each evening this holiday season.

Ground crews use a pulley system to erect the massive star; workers then use hundreds of strands of lights to complete the "tree." Said Carowinds' vice president and general manager Bart Kinzel: "We like to think we are helping put commuters in the holiday spirit every time they drive by Carowinds."