Every year, there is a Festival of Lights that occurs throughout the world. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, you can enjoy the Bull Run Festival of Lights. With it, you have 2.5 miles of illuminated holiday displays full of lights to enjoy. You can drive this festive route from your own vehicle. Just turn off the headlights and follow the glow.
With each year being the same, you may wonder how the Full Run Festival of Lights stays in business. Though there are always miles of beautiful lights, each year’s display is a little different. There could be a new theme or a spin on an old favorite.
When you’re done experiencing the lights, there is a holiday village with a carnival. You can get pictures with Santa, stop by the fire pits to get warm, and visit the craft area to get food and drinks.
There’s the carnival, too, which has various rides and excitement. It looks like your average county fair and includes similar rides and attractions. If that wasn’t enough, you can ice skate at Cameron Run in the Winter Village and go through the walk of lights if you don’t want to drive.
The dates for the Bull Run Festival of Lights does vary each year, but it always starts the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs through January. For the 2020 year, the season was extended through to January 20, 2021, so there’s still time to enjoy the festivities.
Where’s It At/How to Get There
The Bull Run Festival of Lights is held in Nova Park, which is in Virginia. The address is 7700 Bull Run Rive in Centreville, Virginia. If you’re coming from the east, take I-66 East and get off at the Bull Run Drive exit. From the west, you also take I-66 going west and turn at the same location.
It’s ultimately best to drive to the park because you can drive through the light display. However, you can take the metro or bus. They may not go directly to Nova Park, but they get close, and you can walk the rest of the way. Remember, though, the festivities don’t end until late, and there’s no guarantee of how long the buses run.
If you’re planning to go to the Bull Run Festival of Lights, the hours may vary for the 2021 season. However, last year, it was open from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The weekends and Holidays had the park staying open until 10:00 p.m. This indicates that the lights festival was open Thanksgiving Eve and Day, as well as Christmas Eve and Day, along with New Year’s Eve and Day.
Those who want to attend the Bull Run Festival of Lights should expect to pay $25 per vehicle through November. Most of December is the same price, but from December 12 through the 31st, it cost $30 per vehicle. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays before/after the Christmas holiday, you can get a discount if you buy online and use a special promo code to get a better rate for Monday through Thursday.
For any vehicle that holds 15+ passengers, the price is $50. All tickets were sold online in the 2020 year. The price you pay got you into the village and carnival, but from there, you had to purchase tickets or items to drink/eat/use as souvenirs.
Ice skating at Cameron Run is available through February, but the price is separate from the Bull Run Festival of Lights. Therefore, be prepared to pay extra. Those who prefer to walk through the lights can head to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, which is not in Nova Park.
Weather and What to Wear
The weather in Bull Run, Virginia, averages to about 57 degrees for the high and 36 for the low in November. The temps drop about 10 degrees in December and more so in January. All in all, it’s going to be chilly, especially because the Bull Run Festival of Lights occurs at night.
Be prepared with warm clothes, comfortable shoes, thick socks, and a winter coat. You may also want to consider a hat, scarf, and gloves to keep your entire body toasty. Remember, there are restroom facilities where you can remove layers if necessary. However, if you don’t wear or take anything warmer, you are going to be cold while you’re trying to enjoy the festivities.
Where to Sleep
While there aren’t any hotels close to Bull Run, you don’t have to go too far. To the west, you’ve got many options. Days Inn by Wyndham Manassas offers mobile check-in, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. You also get free breakfast each morning you stay and access to the fitness center. Though it’s nothing special, it’s clean and situated close to the Bull Run Festival of Lights.
Red Roof PLUS is an excellent budget hotel, which is right off the I-66. You’re so close to Nova Park and the festivities that you could walk. However, it’s best to drive because of the interstate. Everyone gets access to free Wi-Fi, cable television, and free coffee from the lobby. If you upgrade to a premium room, there’s a snack waiting for you, too.
La Quinta Inn & Suites is another popular place to rest your head. It offers a gym, pool, free breakfast, and Wi-Fi for the guests. Inside the rooms, there is a desk, microwave, refrigerator, and HDTV. Bring along your pet because this accommodation is pet-friendly.
Where to Eat
Once you know where you’re sleeping, you may want to grab a bite to eat before going to the Bull Run Festival of Lights. Though there are food vendors available on-site, pricing can be high, and there aren’t many choices for meals. Instead, consider trying Tony’s New York Pizza. Here, you can enjoy classic pasta, veal, and seafood dinners. There’s also plenty of pizza options to go around with various sizes and styles. If that weren’t enough, you can choose a sub or salad to take home and eat later!
Those who want something different should try the Akasaka Sushi and Japanese Steak House. You get an intimate dining experience and a fully stocked bar at your disposal. Whether you like Sushi rolls or want some delicious steak, it’s all available. Try the Hibachi, as it’s an entire meal experience with a show!
Café Rio Mexican Grill serves plenty of authentic-style foods, such as tostadas, burritos, tacos, and more. There are also many appetizers to get your mouth watering for the meal ahead. Everyone is going to have a great time, but save some room to try the Tres Leches or Lime Pie! Alcoholic beverages aren’t available here, but it makes a great family-friendly atmosphere.
More Things to Do in the Area
Once you’ve enjoyed the Bull Run Festival of Lights, don’t leave the area! Stay another night and enjoy the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Though you’ve got to pay a fee, it’s a great way to learn about the Manassas Battles. There is also a guided tour and various outdoor activities. Since it’s winter, it’s likely to be limited for the outdoors events, but there are still plenty of things to learn and see inside.
The Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events is a fun place to spend the afternoon. There are go-karts, axe throwing, and much more to enjoy. If you like to race or want to give it a try, this is the place to be. Plus, you can try your hand at throwing axes to see how good you are.
Those who want something a little quieter may prefer to visit Echoes, the Manassas Museum Store. It’s a shopping location that features one-of-a-kind gifts. There are Civil War collectibles, local craft options, and jewelry to look at. Window shopping is allowed, but you may not be able to stop yourself from buying something.
If you haven’t spent enough time outside during the Bull Run Festival of Lights, consider heading to Harris Pavilion. Here, you can ice skate and go through the museum. There are also many restaurants that offer outside dining, regardless of the season. You’re sure to find something to enjoy and experience.
It’s important to bring light to the darkness, and the darkest times are right before and after the winter holidays. Therefore, it’s a good idea to experience a festival of lights. If you have never been to Virginia, consider attending the 2021-2022 Bull Run Festival of Lights. You might be amazed at the beauty and tranquility coming from the light displays.
My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.