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Kennywood celebrates 10th annual ‘Holiday Lights’ spectacular

by Susan and Simon Veness

Kennywood in Pittsburg shines with more than a million sparkling lights as it celebrates a decade of “Holiday Lights” while ringing in the festive season.

Kennywood Holiday Lights
Photos courtesy of Kennywood

Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Nov. 20 – Dec. 24, Kennywood amusement park will once again present its annual yuletide event, after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. The festivities will take place on an unprecedented 24 nights, and the park will remain open for an additional hour most nights.

The centerpiece of “Holiday Lights” is Pennsylvania’s Tallest Christmas Tree, rising 100-feet high. Other seasonally inspired offerings are light shows around the lagoon, special live entertainment, a walk-through petting zoo, and a massive model train display set up by the Pittsburgh Independent Hi-Railers O Gauge modular railroad club.

A Christmas celebration wouldn’t be complete without St. Nick, and guests can meet him while enjoying a meal at Dinner with Santa, featuring an all-new holiday menu.

In addition, all young visitors are welcome to write a letter to Santa, which will be sent straight to the North Pole.

Kennywood Holiday Lights Santa

The park’s culinary team has been hard at work creating festive foods and delightful drinks. New snack options include apple pie pizza, warms snickerdoodle s’mores, and, for ages 21 and up, flavored hot toddies and seasonal beers.  A traditional Christmas dinner at the Parkside Café will also be on offer.

Kennywood plans to set a world record during “Holiday Lights,” too. On Nov. 26, the park will host the World’s Ugly Sweater Party, joining its sister parks — Lake Compounce in Connecticut, Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania, and Castle Park in California — for a cross-country attempt toward a multi-location record for ugly sweater celebrations.

Guests who would like to participate should join the park’s mascot, Kenny Kangaroo, and his crew at Pennsylvania’s Tallest Christmas Tree at 7 p.m. to be counted among the attendants aiming for the record-setting goal.

Pennsylvania's Tallest Christmas Tree

Weather permitting, Kennywood will achieve another first as they add the Jack Rabbit roller coaster to the attractions that will be open during the event, making it the first coaster the park has ever operated in winter. Grand Prix bumper cars will also join the ride line-up.

“There is no better way to conclude 2021 than with Kennywood’s biggest and best ‘Holiday Lights’ ever,” said General Manager Mark Pauls. “Guests will have a great time walking through our winter wonderland, enjoying some rides, and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year together. We have some great gifts to share this season, above and beyond ‘Holiday Lights,’ too — some that may even arrive before Christmas. So stay tuned.”

Kennywood Holiday Lights tree

Season Passholders can enjoy a sneak peek during the passholder-only grand re-opening on Nov. 19.

Kennywood will also offer extra after-Christmas bonus nights from Dec. 26 – Jan. 2, marking the first time in the park’s 124-year history that it has welcomed guests in January.

For more information, visit Kennywood.com.

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