PHOTO: Santa and his elves, will be featured along the mile-long drive-thru light show working at Santa’s Village. / Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
FrankTown Open Hearts, a Franklin-based nonprofit organization that serves at-risk inner-city youth, held an early preview Tuesday night for the inaugural FrankTown Festival of Lights, Williamson County’s only drive-thru Christmas light show.
— Alexander Willis (@ReporterWillis) November 21, 2018
Held at the Williamson County AG Expo Center in Franklin, the light show is a mile-long stretch of road that features just about every kind of Christmas-themed lights and displays one could imagine. Many lights will be synchronized to popular holiday tunes. Drivers can listen along in their vehicles by tuning their radios to the posted stations.
“These are the classic, nostalgic scenes like you would have gone through in the 50s,” said FrankTown’s executive director, Chris Barnhill. “We’ll have the 12 days of Christmas, we have Santa and his elves working in the Santa Village, we have a sports fan section. It’s just a really neat Christmas, family-friendly setting.”
County Mayor Rogers Anderson, who was instrumental in providing resources for the Festival of Lights, called the event and venue “wonderful” and “magnificent.” He thanked FrankTown staff, as well as the brains behind the entire idea, Christian music artist Eddie DeGarmo.
Co-founder of the 70s Christian rock group “DeGarmo & Key” and member of FrankTown, DeGarmo said that the idea came from his wife, after she noted that Williamson County did not have its own drive-thru light show.
Following some brief words from FrankTown staff and featured guests, a ceremonial ribbon cutting took place to commemorate the occasion, with invited guests rushing to their cars for the first ever drive through the light show.
The Festival of Lights will officially open Thanksgivings Day at 6 p.m. It will stay open seven days a week from 6 – 10 p.m. until Dec. 29.
Tickets are $25 for normal vehicles with 14 passengers or less, and $35 for large vehicles such as buses with more than 14 passengers, and may be purchased online by clicking here.
Proceeds for the fundraiser will go towards supporting FrankTown Open Hearts’ numerous outreach programs. These include free classes in the automotive, culinary and woodworking trades, free meals for children, and leadership and spiritual counseling. FrankTown has also started donating the vehicles that it’s students in the automotive classes had repaired to local single mothers in need, donating 25 this year alone.
“We have one mile of lights snaking through the parking lot, [with] displays with classic nostalgic lights,” Barnhill said. “I guarantee when you get through the end of that course, you are going to be in the Christmas spirit.”