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Millions of lights to see in Defuniak Springs

12/08/2017 01:48PM

Gallery: Christmas Reflections [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

More than six million Christmas lights are now on display in the Historic District of DeFuniak Springs, Florida.  The month-long display of lights begins annually the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year’s Eve.

The Historic District of DeFuniak Springs is mostly comprised of a campus which opened in 1885 and operated until 1927 for the annual Florida Chautauqua Assembly.  The once-gated grounds were marketed as “The Education Resort of the South” and included a train depot, grand hotel, a 4,000 seat auditorium with an entrance resembling the United States Capitol, an art department, five churches, and charming cottages and large Victorian homes all plotted around a perfectly round, spring-fed lake.  The campus is believed to be the first planned community in Florida, and most of the original buildings and homes are still standing.

The Victorian-era structures make for a perfect backdrop for the millions of Christmas lights placed throughout the grounds.   Traditional Christmas songs are played loudly enough for everyone in their car to want to join in on a sing-a-long as they drive slowly to take in the breathtaking illuminated lights reflecting off the water’s surface.  Some prefer to park their car and walk the grounds to absorb the beauty of the Christmas light reflections.  For an additional fee, guests may choose to enjoy the lights by horse-drawn carriage.

Members of the non-profit organization called Christmas Reflections orchestrate the annual event with the help of inmate labor crews from the Walton County Correctional Institute.  Crews begin decorating the grounds as early as September.

Christmas Reflections opens the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year’s Eve.  Tickets are $3/person and can be purchased at the gate located just outside the DeFuniak Springs Library at 3 Circle Drive.  Ages 6 and under admitted free. Season passes are available at the gate or in advance at either the DeFuniak Springs Visitors Center, 1160 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, FL or at the City of DeFuniak Springs Utility Billing Office at 71 US Highway 90 West, DeFuniak Springs.  Season passes allow a vehicle with up to six people unlimited visits to the grounds throughout Christmas Reflections.  Complimentary “step-on” bus tours available through the DeFuniak Springs Visitors Bureau arranged a day in advance by calling (850) 333-2241.

The DeFuniak Visitors Center is open Monday through Thursday, 10am-2pm, Friday 1pm-5pm, Saturday 8am-3pm.  For further information, call the Visitors Center at (850) 333-2241 or visit www.DeFuniakSpringsVisitorsBureau.com and/or the DeFuniak Springs Visitors Bureau on Facebook.

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