Pack up the car and drive through Calhoun’s magical light display.
Over the next two weeks, the greatest transformation in the South will take place in Cajun Country. Candy Cane Lane in Calhoun, Louisiana, will open its mile-long, drive-through Christmas park to visitors on Thursday, November 23, as part of the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights.
For a mega holiday display like this, it requires planning, precision, and patience—something Amy and Ben Hanson have demonstrated since they first started developing the Christmas light park in March 2017.
"I grew up originally in east Texas," Ben told The News Star. "There are several of them [Christmas light parks] around the Tyler area, and I took my two older kids back when they were little to the ones there. It's always been in the back of my mind that I would like to try it, and we kind of got in the position where we could."
Preparing to unveil the brand-new Candy Cane Lane on Thanksgiving Day has been no small task for the couple, though. Lights still have to be strung to designate the route, a speaker system needs to be installed to blast Christmas music through the park, and themed decorations are still in the works. Needless to say, both Ben and Amy have a lot of work ahead of them to deliver their promised Winter Wonderland to anxious Southern merrymakers.
"Once we figured out we had the property and could make it happen, we actually went and bought lights between Christmas and New Year this past year," Ben said. "We spent a solid week buying from department stores, hardware stores, and home improvement stores."
The couple has traveled from Dallas, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi, to hunt down lights. According to Ben, they’ve spent more than $65,000. But Ben and Amy are sure the money and miles spent will be worth it in the long run. Hopefully, in the next few years, they want to turn the drive-through light park into an annual holiday tradition with bigger and brighter displays, jolly visits with Santa, and delicious treats from food vendors.
"We are hoping it will become a family tradition every year," said Ben. "Growing up, that's the way the one in Tyler was. It was a thing to go at least one, two, or twelve nights."
This year, visitors can expect to see more than one million Christmas lights wrapped around trees in the park. Not to mention, different zones throughout the Christmas park will feature light tunnels and varying themes that range from picturesque winter scenes plucked straight from a Hallmark movie to Mardi Gras-inspired decorations that reflect the lively spirit of Louisiana. A patriotic combination of red, white, and blue lights will frame the walls on Candy Cane Lane, and recognizable figures and cartoon characters will be there to greet you along the drive.
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Want to go? Here's all the information you need to gather the family for a joyous ride through Candy Cane Lane:
- When: The park opens on Thanksgiving and will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday through December 21. From December 21 to January 1, Candy Cane Lane will be open every night.
- Where: Interstates 20 and 49. The mile-long display starts off of Louisiana 151 North in Calhoun and continues around the bend through the Hanson’s property.
- Cost: The price of admission through the park for one family vehicle is $20. However, it’s $40 for a commercial vehicle. No trailers are allowed, and admission is cash only.
- Contact Information: For route information and any changes, please visit Candy Cane Lane on Facebook.