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Nature in Lights: BLORA lights up for holiday season

Email   Print   Share By Lisa A. Lorenz-Bass, FMWR Outdoor Rec. Coordinator
November 24, 2011 | Editorial
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Nature in Lights displays light up BLORA during the holiday season. Nature in Lights features five-and-a-half miles of more than 100 light displays. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
What do you get when you take hundreds of miles of electrical wire, millions of bulbs, banjo strumming bears, dancing moose, illuminated front end loaders, decorated backhoes, reindeer- filled hot tubs, belly-flopping snowmen, exploding tanks, eight-foot candy canes, parasailing elves, sunbathing reindeer, a 500-foot tunnel, Mrs. Claus baking cookies and Santa fishing for a whale, surfing, and white water rafting?

You get a holiday celebration, of course, Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area style!

Every August, despite 100-degree temperatures, BLORA begins its annual transformation of the park to a winter wonderland. From mid-November to early January, each season, the 850-acre recreation area becomes a holiday destination for thousands of visitors from across the state during the Nature in Lights program.

More than 110 displays, many computer animated, twinkle, shine and light up the five-and-a-half-mile drive of holiday cheer, along with architectural and foliage lighting outlining the trail of lights. Displays ranging in size from clusters of four-foot snowflakes to a 300-foot nativity scene, decorate the landscape; there definitely is something for everyone to help get in the holiday spirit.

The Nature in Lights program began 15 years ago as a means to promote community partnership, instill the holiday spirit in visitors, and enhance the quality of life for Fort Hood Soldiers, their Family members and the surrounding community.

Over these 15 years, visiting the park during Nature in Lights has become an annual holiday tradition for many Families. Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is greatly appreciative of the support shown from businesses, individuals and organizations, which sponsor displays each season, truly making Nature in Lights a community event.

Two-thirds of the way through the drive, guests can stop by Santa’s Village, located at Live Oak Pavilion, and shop for a few Christmas gifts and special treats at the numerous arts and crafts booths, enjoy homemade cookies, hot chocolate and other concessions at the Cowboy Café, and smile for the camera, while taking photos with Santa Claus.

Family and MWR’s Sportsmen’s Center serves up the snacks, while the Apache Arts and Crafts Center brings the vendors and Santa to the village.

The trail of lights will be open nightly through Jan. 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Santa’s Village will be operational every Thursday through Sunday from Nov. 24 through Dec. 11, and nightly from Dec. 15 through Dec. 24.

Each car entering the park on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings will receive the fourth edition collectible Nature in Lights ornament, while supplies last. Also, come early and sign up for a chance to win either a 32’’ HD flat screen TV or one of two BLORA camping packages. The drawings will be held on Dec. 8 and it is not necessary to be present to win. Drop off your registration ticket at the entry box at

Santa’s Village or at the exit gate, right next to the Thank You Christmas Tree display. While driving through the park, tune in your radio to 91.9 FM and enjoy the holiday music while you ride.

The entry fee is $5 per vehicle; $15 for 15-passenger vans, limos and recreational vehicles; $25 for 24-passenger vans or mini-buses; and $40 for 47-passenger buses. For more information, call 287-2523. Directions to the park are available online at www.hoodmwr.com.
 
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