What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Holiday laser light show takes over Wilson's Whirligig Park

Posted December 2, 2020 8:12 a.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2020 6:46 a.m. EST

— A brand new holiday tradition begins in Wilson Friday night.

Over the next two weekends, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park will be transformed with a festive laser light show.

The drive-in style event allows spectators to stay inside their cars and gaze at the sky as colorful lights dance in sync with holiday music. The show was dreamed up by Susan Kellum, marketing coordinator for historic downtown Wilson, when it became clear that COVID-19 would alter the city's usual celebrations.

Holiday laser light show takes over Wilson's Whirligig Park

Kellum reached out to Emerald Owl Productions, an Emerald Isle-based laser vendor she has worked with for years for the city's Christmas tree lighting. His business was struggling during the pandemic and he was thrilled to design a show for Wilson.

The event, called the Electric Light Fantasy, or ELF, uses a series of lasers to create giant designs in the sky. According to Kellum, one of the lasers is similar to the kind used at theme parks.

"This is totally different from drive-through light shows, because the show will be up in the sky, and there will be haze and smoke," Kellum said, not to mention the lights bouncing off the reflectors on the Whirligigs. "I really think it will be spectacular."

Kellum, who just planned a COVID-19 safe oyster roast for her family over Thanksgiving, said she is used to adapting to change.

"Having done events and marketing all my life, I'm used to turning on a dime," she said. "I try to have a Plan B, C, D and E. Back in mid-summer, I knew we needed to start planning an alternative event that would be safe and exciting. We wanted to give people something new that they could look forward to."

Guests must purchase tickets online beforehand to guarantee they'll get an optimal viewing spot. The event runs Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-12, with four 30-minute shows per night starting at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. The cost is $20 per car.

Guests will be required to stay in their cars for safety reasons. Kellum recommends arriving 30-45 minutes before the show to get your ticket scanned and park.

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