Posted Nov 27, 2018
"Amazing." "Incredible." "Wow." These are the words that kept tumbling out of our mouths on repeat all night long when we visited the LightUP Fest at One Loudoun in Ashburn, Virginia.
You can see it from a mile away as you drive in. Passengers taking off and landing at Dulles Airport can see it from the air! Yes, it is THAT big. Touted as the largest light display on the east coast with over one million lights, the LightUP Fest is brand new this year and like nothing we've ever experienced before.
The excitement and magic that surround you when you enter through the archway of the stunning illuminated castle at the entrance of LightUP Fest is Disney-esque. You are literally enveloped in music and light and transported to a fantasy world filled with gigantic, themed lighting installations and interactive displays.
The exhibits are based around four major themes - Tour of Fantasy, Freedom America, Mysterious East and Magical World - comprising 77 stunning installations, each as captivating as the next. The hardest decision we made all night was which direction to head first!
From iconic world landmarks and fairy tale dreams to prehistoric lands and undersea fantasies, unique displays of high-tech lighting technology spring up out of the darkness as far as the eye can see.
Arguably the grandest of all is the "Mysterious East" exhibit, an amazing showcase of Chinese cultural traditions, history and art filled with floating lanterns, pandas, a soaring Chinese pagoda and a majestic electric blue dragon stretching hundreds of feet long.
Several interactive elements are particularly fun for kids, including a maze constructed entirely of lanterns, a configuration of stepping 'stones' that change color as you walk, pedal-powered light displays connected to stationery bikes, an oversize lite brite, and some rather realistic looking (and sounding!) animatronic dinos!
As if all of that weren't enough, LightUP Fest also features a performance stage that hosts free live entertainment throughout the evening (we saw everything from Chinese acrobats to a Mexican Mariachi band the night we were there), an international food court and shopping area, and a few carnival rides for the little ones (extra fee applies).
LightUP Fest runs through January 2nd at One Loudoun. All attractions are outdoors, so be sure to dress accordingly. They do close for inclement weather, so check their website and/or Facebook page before you head out if you're unsure if they will be open.
Check out our holiday activities and events deals for even more family fun at unbeatable prices.
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