With the fall festival season now behind us, we’re going to begin transitioning from our weekly “Weekender Blog,” which focuses on coming events, to highlighting some of the great things about coastal and southern Delaware.

This week, we want to turn our attention to a couple of holiday light displays that will be opening in the next few days, one here at the Delaware beaches and the other one just across the state line in Ocean City.

We had intended to highlight three such events in this blog entry, but we must sadly report that the “Decorating Delmarva” event at the Delaware International Speedway in Delmar has ceased operations this year. This was really a unique holiday display in southwestern Sussex County for the last four years, and we’re sad to see it go.

We want to wish the Cathell family well and thank them for a great four years of giving back to the community. At last count, they had donated nearly $100,000 to local charitable causes via money raised at “Decorating Delmarva.”

It’s a shame to see this event discontinued, for sure, but maybe they can return at a later date? Never say never, right?

Now, on to the two huge light displays in our area that really should be a “must visit” for everyone this holiday season. If you love Christmas and want to get into the spirit of the season, there’s no better way to do it than by visiting these festive local events.

We’ll give you everything you need to have a good time, whether visiting Lewes or Ocean City, including location, highlights, contact information and much more.

So read on and then get busy planning your visit to either, or both, of these wonderful local events. Have a great time!

Winter WonderFest (November 18 – January 1) 

This holiday-themed local event will take place at both Cape Henlopen State Park and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry beginning on Friday, Nov. 18 and will run through New Year's Day. It’s actually two events in one and we will go into each one in-depth.

  • Light Spectacular. More than 60 holiday light displays will be included in this inaugural year, which you can view from the comfort of your car or truck while driving through the park. A scavenger hunt and 3-D experience are also planned. The show begins at the Cape Henlopen State Park fee booth and should take about 20 minutes to complete. Tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 at the gate for cars or vans and $50/$60 for a school bus or charter bus. Tickets can be purchased at www.wonderfestde.org.

Light displays are created by Brandano Displays, like the one below.
  • Christmas Village. Set on the grounds of the Cape May Lewes Ferry, this portion of the event includes carnival rides, an outdoor ice skating rink, Santa’s Workshop, a ferris wheel, entertainment on stage, refreshments and much more. Attraction tickets cost $10 for 10 and go up to $60 for 100. Buy online at www.wonderfestde.org or on-site during the event.

A newly established non-profit called Festival of Cheer is the driving force behind the 2016 Winter WonderFest in Lewes, with proceeds from the event reinvested back into the community.

Winterfest of Lights (November 17 – January 1) 

This award-winning attraction in Ocean City has become a family tradition of sorts since its first year in 1992. More than a million lights will once again be on display in Northside Park on 125th Street, including hundreds of animated displays.

There’s also the Winterfest Village Pavilion where you can relax and sip on some hot chocolate or listen to Christmas carols. You can even do a little shopping or sit on Santa’s lap for a nice family photo if you like.

When it’s time to check out the lights, board the Winterfest Express and relax as the conductor on duty guides you around the park. More than 50 acres of lights are again promised for 2016.

The Winterfest of Lights opens daily at 5:30 p.m. between Nov. 17 and New Year’s Day. Call 800-626-2326 for more information.