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SPRINGFIELD — For the fourth straight year, Bright Nights at Forest Park has been recognized by the American Bus Assoc. (ABA) as one of the “Best of the Best for 2023.” The ABA acknowledges destinations and attractions from the U.S. and Canada that offer the “highest quality of group tour experience and amenities in the motorcoach, travel, and tourism industry.”

“We’re thrilled that ABA has recognized Bright Nights at Forest Park for something we already knew to be true — they are the best of the Best,” said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As our premier winter event, Bright Nights puts Western Mass. top of mind for many visitors, and we’re grateful to the Spirit of Springfield for continuing to keep this attraction new and exciting.”

Prior to receiving “Best of the Best” honors in 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020, Bright Nights at Forest Park was recognized by the American Bus Assoc. as one of the Top 100 Destinations in North America. It features more than 700,000 lights along a three-mile drive that winds its way through the historic park.

“Peter Picknelly Sr., Peter Bus Lines former chair and a driving force behind Bright Nights at Forest Park, would be proud of this honor from the American Bus Association, as are we,” said Judy Matt, Spirit of Springfield president. “This year, we are expecting hundreds of buses to take their passengers on the magical tour through the lights while providing economic stimulation for our area.”

Since opening on Nov. 24, 1995, Bright Nights at Forest Park has entertained more than 7 million people. Annually, the economic impact has been calculated to be $15 million. The 29th season runs through Jan. 1, 2024.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The 29th season of Bright Nights at Forest Park opened on Nov. 22 and will run through Jan. 1. The lights will be lit every night from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays, which include Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. It will be closed on Nov. 27-28. Tickets are available at brightnights.org.

Over the past 29 years, a lot has changed, but many iconic displays have stayed the same. The Cat in the Hat still waves at the entrance to Seuss Land as he has been doing since 1995. The deer in Winter Woods bound across the road. Toy Land is still a storied land for children to dream of living in.

Santa’s Magical Forest continues to grow with activities, attractions, and Santa himself, who will be in residency through Christmas Eve. He has a cozy cottage to welcome visitors, listen to holiday wish lists, and pose for photos, whether visitors take their own or purchase a photo package.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bright Nights at Forest Park will take place this year, according to its organizer, Spirit of Springfield.

“Bright Nights is needed more than ever now, especially in these challenging and surreal times we are currently living in,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said. “I’m very pleased that my city team and the Spirit of Springfield have worked together to come up with a safe and acceptable public-health model that allows our beloved Bright Nights to continue to bring holiday cheer to all our families from near and far. Also, I am very appreciative of our generous business and philanthropic community for their continued belief and investment in our City of Springfield.”

Spirit of Springfield and the city of Springfield have developed protocols to provide a safe and festive event that has been a holiday tradition since 1995. They will be instituted during setup, breakdown, and during the event, and include masks, regular cleaning, online ticketing, and more. Restrooms will be for emergency use only, and the usual bustling gift shop, amusement rides, horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides, and visits and supper with Santa will not be available. This will help keep all visitors safe and socially distanced in their vehicles during the experience.

“We are so pleased that Bright Nights at Forest Park will continue to be a part of the holiday season. It is important we celebrate each and every holiday while staying safe and healthy,” Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt said. “We want to keep the tradition glowing.”

Bright Nights at Forest Park is three miles of a unique holiday experience featuring more than 675,000 lights and iconic displays like Seuss Land, Everett Barney Mansion, Toy Land, Happy Holidays, Springfield, and so many more. It generates $15 million in economic impact annually and has created a lifetime of family memories in its 25-year history. It also promises to be one of the safest events, with families contained in their cars.

The season will open on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and operate through Sunday, Jan. 3. Admission will be $23 per car weeknights, weekdays, and holidays. Discounted tickets will be available at participating Big Y World Class Markets for $16.50. Due to bus-capacity limitations in Massachusetts, admission for buses has been reduced to $100 for buses with capacity of more than 30 people. Vehicles with seating from 17 to 30 people will be charged $50 for admission.

Bright Nights’ 26th season is sponsored by AAA Pioneer Valley, Balise Auto, Baystate Health, Big Y World Class Markets, Charlie Arment Trucking Inc., Comcast, Eversource Energy, Gleason Johndrow Landscaping, Health New England, iHeart Media, MassLive, MassMutual, Mercy Medical Center, MGM Springfield, MP P.C., PeoplesBank, the Republican, Sheraton Springfield, the Springfield Thunderbirds, WWLP-22News, and more.