WYOMING COUNTY, Pa. — Less than one week from the opening night of the Festival of Lights at Stone Hedge Golf Course means it's crunch time to get each light ready to shine.
"It takes an army to do this, a small army to do this whole thing," said creator Karen Rurak.
The display at Stone Hedge Golf Course near Tunkhannock draws thousands of visitors each year for the holiday season.
"Everywhere you look, there are lights. There are lights in the trees, there are lights in the displays, lights on the ground, on the roads," said Sadie Shultz.
More than a dozen staff members are busy checking each bulb and light stand around the 2.2-mile drive-thru display.
Then at dusk, they light it up to make sure all of the estimated five million lights are in working order.
"Then you can see if anything needs to be replaced or fixed. I had a lot of repair work on the old displays, but the new light strands never came until October. Normally, we would repair all that in the summer, but they didn't come, and so, I ordered in February, and they never came until October," said Rurak.
From golf season to holiday season, prep work is no small feat transforming the back nine into something magical.
"You look at it, and you think, 'OK, it all came together.' Because as hard as it is when you're doing it, you think, 'Is it ever going to come together?' But it does, and it does make you feel good, and the fact that it makes so many people happy just makes you feel good," said Rurak.
"It became important, especially during COVID, because it was something people could still come and do in their cars with their families. You didn't have to stay home; you could still do the Christmas family tradition, even Thanksgiving. Some people come out on Thanksgiving," said Shultz.
The Festival of Lights opens the day before Thanksgiving and ends on December 31.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.