Sartell Lights Festival

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Welcome to the enchanting world of the Sartell Lights Festival, where the city of Sartell, Minnesota, transforms into a radiant oasis of twinkling lights and festive joy.

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Festival highlights

As we delve into this captivating event, we’ll explore how fairy lights, twinkling Christmas displays, and curtain lights create a magical atmosphere, captivating visitors of all ages. 

Renowned for its spectacular light exhibition, the festival is a celebration of community spirit, illuminating the winter nights with warmth and splendor. Join us on this luminous journey through the Sartell Lights Festival, a dazzling spectacle that embodies the true essence of a winter wonderland.

About the Sartell Lights Festival

The Sartell Lights Festival, also fondly known as the Country Lights Festival, is a heartwarming event that celebrates the symphony of lights and the spirit of Christmas. Set against the backdrop of a sprawling 33-acre land off Pinecone Road, this festival invites visitors to immerse themselves in a wonderland adorned with intricate Christmas lights displays and a kaleidoscope of colorful lights. 

The festival is a visual feast, where each step takes you through a different chapter of a fairy-tale illuminated by the soft glow of lights.

Featured Lighting Displays:

  • Tunnel of Lights: A mesmerizing walk-through experience, where visitors are surrounded by a canopy of sparkling lights, creating an illusion of a starlit sky.
  • Christmas Lights Displays: Traditional and innovative Christmas-themed light installations that bring to life the joy and magic of the holiday season.
  • Fairy Lights: Delicate and ethereal, these tiny lights add a touch of whimsy, weaving through trees and structures, creating a magical, dreamlike environment.
  • String Lights: Strands of lights that gracefully adorn the pathways and trees, adding a warm and inviting glow to the festival grounds.
  • Light Trails: Guided paths illuminated by creatively arranged lights, leading visitors on a journey through the enchanting festival landscape.

Festival Dates (2023)

The Sartell Lights Festival, a beacon of light and joy, illuminates the city of Sartell throughout the entire month of December. This month-long celebration provides ample opportunity for visitors to experience the festive magic and wonder that the festival has to offer. 

Whether you’re planning a family outing, a romantic evening, or a festive gathering with friends, the Sartell Lights Festival is ready to welcome you with its radiant charm during this special time of the year. Come and be part of this glowing tradition that brightens the winter season in Minnesota.

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An image inspired from the light displays at Sartell Lights Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Sartell Lights Festival is beautifully situated around Lake Francis in Sartell, Minnesota, United States. This picturesque setting provides a serene backdrop for the festival, where the reflective waters of Lake Francis enhance the beauty of the illuminated displays. The festival’s location not only offers a stunning visual experience but also allows visitors to enjoy the natural charm of Sartell during the festive season.

Transportation to the Festival from the Nearest Airport:

The nearest major airport to the Sartell Lights Festival is the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Located approximately 80 miles southeast of Sartell, it offers various options for visitors to reach the festival location:

  • Car Rental: Renting a car at the airport is a convenient option, providing flexibility and ease of travel directly to the festival.
  • Shuttle Services: Several shuttle services operate between the airport and Sartell, offering comfortable and hassle-free transportation.
  • Taxi or Rideshare: Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are readily available at the airport for direct travel to the festival.

Getting to the Festival by Train:

From Minneapolis:

  • Take the Northstar Line from Target Field Station to Big Lake Station.
  • From Big Lake, rent a car or use local shuttle services for the remaining 30-mile journey to Sartell.

From Duluth:

  • Board the Northern Lights Express to Minneapolis.
  • Transfer to the Northstar Line and follow the same route as above from Minneapolis to Sartell.

From Chicago:

  • Catch the Amtrak Empire Builder train to St. Paul Union Depot.
  • From St. Paul, take a connecting train to Minneapolis, then proceed as mentioned in the Minneapolis instructions.

From Fargo:

  • Take the Jefferson Lines bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota.
  • In St. Cloud, opt for a local taxi or rideshare to reach Sartell, which is just a short drive away.

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other mesmerizing lights festivals as well:

Festival of Lights at Sinnissippi Park

Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights

Festival Hours

The Sartell Lights Festival offers a unique and enchanting experience by operating from dusk till dawn. This round-the-clock schedule allows visitors to experience the full beauty and magic of the light displays under the night sky and the serene early hours of the morning. 

Whether you’re an early bird who enjoys the tranquil ambiance of dawn or a night owl who loves the vibrant energy of the evening, the festival caters to all preferences. The continuous operation ensures that everyone has the opportunity to witness the breathtaking spectacle of lights in their full glory, at a time that suits them best.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit the Sartell Lights Festival

One of the most inviting aspects of the Sartell Lights Festival is its accessibility to all, as the event is completely free of charge. This commitment to inclusivity ensures that everyone, regardless of budget, can participate in and enjoy the mesmerizing displays of lights and the festive atmosphere. 

The decision to offer free entry is a testament to the festival’s community spirit, allowing visitors from all walks of life to come together and share in the joy and beauty of this special season. The Sartell Lights Festival truly embodies the spirit of giving, making the magic of the holiday season accessible to all who wish to experience it.

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An image inspired by the light displays at Sartell Lights Festival

Weather and What to Wear

December in Sartell, Minnesota, is characterized by a true winter wonderland atmosphere, with the weather playing a quintessential part in setting the festive mood. During this month, visitors can expect cold temperatures, typically ranging from lows around 10°F (-12°C) to highs near 25°F (-4°C). 

Snowfall is a common occurrence, adding to the magical ambiance of the Sartell Lights Festival. The crisp, chilly air under the starlit sky makes the warmth of the twinkling lights even more inviting.

Recommended Clothing for Comfort:

  • Insulated Winter Coat: A must-have to stay warm in the freezing temperatures.
  • Layered Clothing: Wearing layers such as thermal undergarments, fleece, or wool sweaters will provide additional warmth and flexibility.
  • Waterproof Boots: Ideal for navigating snowy paths while keeping your feet dry and warm.
  • Gloves or Mittens: Essential for keeping your hands protected against the cold.
  • Warm Hat: A substantial portion of body heat is lost through the head, so a warm hat is crucial.
  • Scarf: To protect your neck and face from chilly winds.
  • Ear Muffs: To keep your ears warm, especially during breezy nights.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

After a mesmerizing evening at the Sartell Lights Festival, rest and rejuvenate at one of the nearby hotels, each offering its unique blend of comfort and convenience to enhance your festive experience.

AmericInn by Wyndham Sartell

  • Location: Centrally located in Sartell, this 2-star hotel is just a short drive from the festival grounds.
  • Description: AmericInn by Wyndham offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, ideal for families and solo travelers alike.
  • Amenities: Guests can enjoy free parking, ensuring easy access to and from the festival. The hotel also provides a complimentary breakfast, perfect for starting your day before heading back to the light displays.

Hilton Garden Inn St. Cloud

  • Location: Situated in the nearby city of St. Cloud, this 3-star hotel is a convenient option for festival-goers.
  • Description: The Hilton Garden Inn combines modern comfort with excellent service, catering to both leisure and business travelers.
  • Amenities: Among its many features, the hotel boasts an indoor pool, ideal for relaxation after a day at the festival. Free parking is also available, adding to the convenience for guests.

Days Inn by Wyndham St. Cloud

  • Location: Also located in St. Cloud, this 2-star hotel offers easy access to both the festival and the city’s attractions.
  • Description: Days Inn provides a comfortable and budget-friendly accommodation option, with a focus on simplicity and practicality.
  • Amenities: The hotel is pet-friendly, welcoming guests who travel with their furry companions. Free parking is available, making it a hassle-free choice for visitors driving to the festival.

Where to Eat

Embark on a culinary adventure in Sartell, where diverse dining options await to tantalize your taste buds after a delightful evening at the Lights Festival.

River Boat Depot

  • Location: Conveniently situated in the heart of Sartell, this American restaurant is a popular spot for both locals and visitors.
  • Description: Known for its lively atmosphere, the River Boat Depot is perfect for sports enthusiasts looking to catch a game while enjoying their meal.
  • Menu Highlights: Indulge in classic American favorites like Ham and Cheese Balls, Boneless Wings, and Mozzarella Sticks, all crafted to complement a fun and relaxed dining experience.

Garden Wok

  • Location: Nestled in the vicinity of Sartell, this Chinese restaurant is easily accessible from the festival location.
  • Description: Garden Wok offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for families, thanks to its kid-friendly menu.
  • Menu Highlights: Savor a variety of Chinese delicacies, including flavorful Chicken Wings, an assortment of Seafoods, and the ever-popular Fried Rice, each dish promising a delightful taste of the East.

House of Pizza – Sartell

  • Location: Located in the heart of Sartell, this pizza restaurant is a favorite among those who appreciate a good slice.
  • Description: House of Pizza in Sartell is renowned for its cozy ambiance and an extensive selection of pizzas and Italian dishes.
  • Menu Highlights: Explore a range of culinary delights, from classic Lasagna to Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu, and an impressive array of Red and White Pizzas, each bursting with authentic Italian flavors.

More Things to Do In the Area

Beyond the luminous allure of the Sartell Lights Festival, the surrounding area offers a treasure trove of activities and scenic spots to explore, enriching your visit with diverse experiences.

Pinecone Central Park

  • Location: Situated within the city of Sartell, Pinecone Central Park is easily accessible and a local favorite.
  • Description: This expansive park is a hub of outdoor activities, boasting well-maintained walking trails, sports fields, and playgrounds.
  • Activities to Explore: Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls, engage in various sports activities, or simply relax amidst the natural beauty of the park.

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

  • Location: Located in the nearby city of Waite Park, a short drive from Sartell.
  • Description: Quarry Park and Nature Preserve is renowned for its unique blend of natural and historical features, encompassing over 680 acres of landscapes.
  • Activities to Explore: The park offers a rich experience with its swimming quarries, hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities. It’s also a great spot for photography enthusiasts to capture the stunning natural scenery.

Sauk River Regional Park

  • Location: Located in nearby St, Cloud, Minnesota, this regional park is conveniently located for festival-goers.
  • Description: Sauk River Regional Park is a picturesque spot along the Sauk River, offering a peaceful retreat into nature.
  • Activities to Explore: Visitors can enjoy fishing, kayaking, or canoeing in the river, as well as take advantage of the park’s picnic areas and scenic walking paths for a relaxing day out.

A Sparkling Conclusion: Sartell Lights Festival

As we conclude our journey through the Sartell Lights Festival, we are reminded of the incredible power of light to bring warmth and wonder to the coldest of seasons. This festival is not just about the breathtaking displays of lights; it’s a celebration of community, togetherness, and the festive spirit that connects us all. 

We encourage you to embrace this opportunity to create lasting memories with loved ones, surrounded by the enchanting glow of the festival lights. Let the Sartell Lights Festival be a highlight of your winter season, a place where the magic of light and the joy of the holidays come alive in the heart of Minnesota.

FAQ

Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is ample parking available near the festival grounds, including designated areas for easy access.

Are smoking and vaping permitted at the festival?

Smoking and vaping are not permitted within the festival grounds to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Yes, pets are welcome at the Sartell Lights Festival, but they must be kept on a leash at all times for the safety and comfort of all guests.

Is the festival accessible for visitors with disabilities?

Absolutely, the festival is designed to be accessible for all, including those with disabilities. Special accommodations are available to ensure everyone can enjoy the event.

Are food and beverages available for purchase at the festival?

Yes, a variety of food and beverage vendors are available at the festival, offering a range of options to suit all tastes.

Can I take photographs and videos at the festival?

Yes, visitors are encouraged to capture their memories with photographs and videos. However, commercial photography requires prior permission from the festival organizers.

Is there an age limit for attending the festival?

The Sartell Lights Festival is a family-friendly event open to all ages. There is no age restriction for attendance.

In case of inclement weather, will the festival be canceled?

The festival is prepared to operate in most weather conditions. However, in the case of extreme weather, updates regarding any changes will be communicated through the festival’s official website and social media channels.

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An image inspired by the lights of Sartell Lights Festival

Sources:

https://countrylightsfestival.org

https://www.facebook.com/SartellCountryLightsFestival/

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