by Marnie Uhl, President/CEO, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce
What began 18 years ago as a small community Christmas-light display has grown into one of the state’s most brilliant holiday attractions. Prescott Valley’s Valley of Lights has delighted residents and visitors alike with lighted and animated displays created with thousands of colored lights guaranteed to bring out the “oohs” and “ahhhs” in young and old.
In 2001, then Chamber Executive Director Lew Rees envisioned a beautiful lighting display similar to what he had previously had in his community of Branson, Missouri. Working with a lighting company from that area, he planned and designed the first eight original displays. Retired Executive Assistant Beverly Oleson remembered that in those early days staff and volunteers helped with the set up – dragging electrical cords, moving and anchoring displays and manning the donation booth. It was the beginning of what would become Prescott Valley’s premier Christmas and holiday destination.
Today, the Valley of Lights has 59 displays, most consisting of multiple sections, animation and millions of lights. It is under the masterful supervision, setup, maintenance and storage by Advanced Electrical Contracting and Jeff Schaffer. Schaffer begins work on the Valley of Lights in early September in order to have it ready by Thanksgiving night. Together with his team, he sets up all displays, opens and closes the park and breaks it down for storage at the end. During the time Valley of Lights is open, he is continually checking on the cords and electrical, as often times errant wildlife will make their way through, creating unintentional mischief.
“Each year, it is important to keep the Valley of Light fresh and interesting. We do this by adding new displays, moving the displays around to different locations or improving on the displays with modern LED lighting,” said Marnie Uhl, Prescott Valley CEO. “This year we are excited to add a whole new experience to the Valley of Lights on Nov. 28, as we will close that night to cars and open the roadway for a walk-through only.”
Called the Holiday Stroll through Valley of Lights, people will be able to view and photograph the lighted and animated displays up close and personal.
The Valley of Lights displays represent a variety of interests and celebrations from the Nativity and spiritual, to patriotism and fantasy, to awareness and remembrance. Each is made possible through sponsorships by organizations and businesses.
The Valley of Lights is one of the most visited holiday destinations with an average car count of 550 nightly. The busiest times are Thanksgiving night, the time after Prescott Valley’s Holiday Festival of Lights, the time of the courthouse lighting and Christmas Eve and Christmas night. There is no admission, but donations are gratefully accepted at the end.
Enjoy this great Prescott Valley holiday tradition, and delight in the magic of Valley of Lights!
- Valley of Lights is open 6-10 p.m. Thanksgiving night through Dec. 30.
- It is located at 2205 5th St. in Prescott Valley. Look for the toy soldier pointing the way on Highway 69.
For more information, contact the chamber at 928-772-8857.