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During the holiday season, visitors to the City of Allentown can choose from a myriad of vibrant and exciting cultural activities. When people think of the holidays in Allentown, it seems Lights in the Parkway comes to mind first, which makes sense as its celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year. However, there are many more ways to celebrate the holidays in the Queen City. Mayor Ed Pawlowski and representatives of nearly a dozen organizations outlined their holiday season plans during a noon news conference at the Lights in the Parkway’s Gift Barn.
Allentown’s 15th annual Lights in the Parkway celebration will be brighter than ever before. Every single city-owned display be lit-up as a part of this beloved attraction. Not only are holiday scenes featured, but the popular Wizard of Oz, Dinosaurs, Safari Animals and Cinderella collections will all be part of this special anniversary edition of Lights. While commemorating our past, the City is thinking of our future. This year, in an effort to green the display and shine even brighter, we have upgraded some of the lights. Tree lights will all be LED and while journeying through Lights, visitors can try to find the fifteen other pieces that now gleam with LED bulbs.
Due to popular demand, Lights in the Parkway will feature a preview weekend over the Thanksgiving Holiday, from November 26 – 28. The season will be officially open nightly (except for Christmas) from December 3, 2010 – January 2, 2011 from 5:30 – 10pm. 
This year patrons can enjoy the thousands of twinkling lights and accompanying music in several new ways. For the first time, bicyclists age 18 and over are permitted to ride through the Lights in the Parkway display. Brian Sherry, founding member of BikeAllentown, says, “We are ecstatic that bicycles will be afforded the same opportunity as automobiles this year to enjoy Lights in the Parkway. The members of BikeAllentown want to remind cyclists that PA Law mandates the use of front (white) and rear (red) lights when operating your bicycle at night. Although helmets are only required for people 12 and under – we recommend anyone choosing to ride their bicycle through Lights in the Parkway wear a helmet – better safe than sorry. We will be leading a group ride on December 19th – check for additional details.” The group ride will serve as an opportunity for riders all ages to enjoy Lights.
Another exciting addition to this year’s event: a Lights in the Parkway 5K and Walk! The City of Allentown has partnered with Run Lehigh Valley to provide this unique opportunity to enjoy the spectacular display. The event will take place on the evening of Wednesday, December 1. The run will begin at 7 o’clock, with the walk following at 7:15. Participants are urged to register in advance. The link is activated on the Lights in the Parkway website
Because horse-drawn carriage rides were such a success last year, they will again be offered by reservation only. Please visit the Lights in the Parkway website for more information. The price will again be $10 per person. Pricing varies for a private carriage.
Included with admission to Lights in the Parkway is the chance to win a fabulous prize: A trip for four to a Walt Disney World Resort. Prize includes Four Roundtrip Airline tickets to Orlando courtesy of longtime partner Lehigh Valley International Airport. This year, AAA East Penn has partnered to provide three night’s accommodations for up to four people at a Walt Disney World® Resort hotel, including resort tax, based on availability.  “AAA Travel of AAA East Central, East Penn region is very happy to partner with the City of Allentown for Lights in the Parkway.  Touring Lights in the Parkway has become an annual tradition for many families throughout the Lehigh Valley and we are pleased to provide the travel arrangements for the winner of the Walt Disney World Resort package,” said Theresa Podguski, Director of Public Affairs, AAA East Central, East Penn Region.
Since 1996, approximately two million visitors representing nearly every state in the country have enjoyed the display. Carloads of families, couples and friends visit Lights in the Parkway each year. This tradition is the perfect opportunity for families to enjoy time together. After a journey through the remarkable display, visitors can stop by the Gift Barn which hosts vendors selling everything from candies to handmade treasures. Santa’s schedule will be posted on the Lights in the Parkway website shortly.
 Lights in the Parkway also serves as a fundraising event for local non-profit organizations that assist the city nightly at the entrance and along the route and in the gift shop. To date, Lights in the Parkway has given back more than $400,000 dollars to non-profit community groups. This year, volunteer groups include: Boy Scout Troop 140, Civic Theatre, the Hamilton District Main Street Program, Mountainville Memorial Little League, Lehigh County Fire Police and the Allentown Patriots.
Admission to Lights in the Parkway is just $9 per car.  Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 at City Hall and many other area locations. Tickets are already on sale at all area Wegmans. $2 off coupons can be printed out from  More information is also available on that website. A coupon is also contained in the Fall & Winter edition of Adventure Allentown and is good for a dollar off discount.
Lights in the Parkway major sponsors are Allentown Federal Credit Union and Verizon. Other partners include Service Electric; and Just Born, and A-Treat, who will be providing giveaways while supplies last. A complete list of partners is available on the 5k run attachment.  Strolling throughout the parkway on many evenings will be characters like Scrooge and the Nutcracker representing some of the local holiday performances.
Lights in the Parkway is closed December 25.
The city’s Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony will take place from 4pm-7pm on Thursday, December 2 in the Pocket Park in the 800 block of Hamilton Street. This year’s celebration includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Pip the Mouse, Nutcracker and Clara; free horse-drawn carriage rides, an elf parade, live stage performances, strolling entertainers, arts and crafts, face painting, and ice carving demonstrations. We are also excited to announce that there will be fire performers as well.
The Elf Parade is sure to be one of the highlights of this event. Children are invited to dress like elves and get their faces painted with those recognizable rosy red cheeks before being led on a parade by Mrs. Claus. Prizes will be given for the best costumes. The Italian American Band will provide strolling entertainment.  Stage performances are scheduled by Civic Theatre of Allentown and O’Grady Quinlan School of Irish Dance and for the first time children from the Allentown School District.  All entertainment is free.  The actual tree lighting is scheduled for 6:00pm. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Attendees will also have a golden opportunity to visit the Art Mart: Holiday Gifts gallery and shop located adjacent to the holiday tree.
For information on holiday events, contact Tara Craig, Special Events Manager for the City of Allentown by phone at 610-437-7530 or through e-mail at Another resource for holiday happenings all across the city can be found at This new page catalogues the holiday events, exhibitions and shows throughout Allentown making it easy to peruse the variety of events along with their critical details. Consult it before making your holiday plans.

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