Hillsboro's drive-thru holiday light show — "Lightopia - An Illuminated Journey" — returns for a second year this month.
Families can experience elaborate light displays and seasonal vignettes free of charge at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex from Dec. 9 to Dec. 31.
Attendees must reserve tour slots online ahead of time. Reservations for tours Dec. 9-14 opened Wednesday, Dec. 1. Reservations for Dec. 15-21 and Dec. 22-31 will be made available starting at 1 p.m. Dec. 8 and 6 p.m. Dec. 15, respectively. The light show will be open on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
Tours lasting up to 20 minutes begin every half-hour from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tours slots at 9 and 9:30 p.m. will be available Fridays and Saturdays.
"We're so excited to be able to offer the community 'Lightopia' again this year," said Nancy Nye, Hillsboro's senior recreation manager of cultural arts and events.
Hillsboro staff had long wanted to use the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex for a winter light show, Nye said. She added that the need to have events with social distancing and the addition of federal pandemic relief funds presented the perfect opportunity to host "Lightopia" for the first time last year.
The event was highly successful, receiving the 2020 Best Festival award in the large event category from the Oregon Festival and Events Association's Ovation! Awards.
Nye says this year's "Lightopia" will be even better.
After reservations for all the time slots opened at the same time last year, the event quickly sold out, Nye said.
Three separate reservation openings this year will give people multiple chances to secure their spots, hopefully increasing accessibility, Nye said.
The half-mile tour route is almost double the length of last year's because there's no longer a COVID-19 testing site at the complex. The expansion will allow for additional displays, and displays that will be more spaced out, allowing people driving through to soak them in, Nye said.
"It's a visually enhanced experience, I think, because everything's not going to be quite so compact," she said. "The setup is ideal this year."
It also will allow staff to accommodate more cars, with 150 slots available at each tour start time.
People who went last year can expect to see certain displays again such as the "under the sea" and "march of the toy soldiers" displays.
Nye said there also will be new displays such as a lit-up tunnel and a large golfing Santa.
The creativity behind the brilliant and sometimes funny displays comes from the team at C and D Landscape Co., which Hillsboro officials work with to produce light show displays, Nye said.
Donations are not required, but people can bring unwrapped toys to donate to the Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Toy & Joy Drive and nonperishable, unexpired food for the Hillsboro School District's food pantries.
People are asked to show up 15 minutes prior to their reserved time slot. Pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles are not permitted to take tours.
Additional information and reservations are available on Hillsboro's website.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.