By Phoebe Lusk-Hussong
Shelby Farms opens Starry Nights-- once again providing Memphis with a beloved Holiday wonderland of lights, along with an array of other festive activities.
Every holiday season thousands of Memphians visit Shelby Farms’ annual light show, Starry Nights. This year, even more LED lights have been used to transform the park into a magical display with themes ranging from traditional Christmas scenes to Memphis and even Under the Sea. The event can be experienced by car, carriage, or, on some nights, foot. A car ride through the show takes about 30-45 minutes. While cruising or walking through the park, viewers can tune radios to 106.5 for a musical accompaniment to the show.
In the middle of the route is Mistletoe Village, held at the Woodland Discovery Playground. Here cars can stop to shop, visit with Santa, roast s’mores, or go to the petting zoo. The village also features live music on selected nights. The festivities also include special theme nights, such as Walkin' + Woofin' Night on December 12, where participants can walk their dog through the scenery. Additionally, on December 10, the Memphis Astronomical Society will have telescopes set up in the Village for observing the night sky. Grace Sammarco (11), Chair of the Society’s Board of Directors, describes how “for most people this is a rare opportunity to look at the stars as the society always does, and it is a special treat for us to see how much people enjoy it.”
Starry Nights runs from November 18 through December 27. It is open from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The park claims to be open regardless of the weather, whereas the availability of Mistletoe Village is dependent upon weather conditions. It is $20 per car, $45 per 15 person van or limo, and $150 for charter bus.
Starry Nights has been a Memphis tradition since 1990 until coming to a brief stop from 2000-2009. It has since become a beloved holiday tradition for many families.“I love Starry Nights,” says Ella Belvin (9). The carriage rides are so much fun, and I love getting hot chocolate and seeing the lights.”