Dazzling destinations: A guide to the best places in our area to see Christmas lights
by Deirdre Long
dlong@annistonstar.com
Dec 23, 2011 | 5417 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Figurines are seen dancing inside a lighted spinning display at the Gilley house on Gilley Road in Hokes Bluff. The house has been a popular destination during Christmastime since the 1980s. Photo: Deirdre Long/The Anniston Star
Figurines are seen dancing inside a lighted spinning display at the Gilley house on Gilley Road in Hokes Bluff. The house has been a popular destination during Christmastime since the 1980s. Photo: Deirdre Long/The Anniston Star
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There’s still time before Christmas to get out and see some of the lights and decorations, both in and out of town. We asked our friends on Facebook to contribute their favorite destinations, be it a specific place or general area, and included them here.

Gilley house on Gilley Road, Hokes Bluff/Ball Play

This house on Gilley Road has been a Christmastime destination since the 1980s. All hand-built, the house has many moving mechanical displays covered in lights, everything from an elephant to a helicopter. Although the original builder, Jordan Casper “JC” Gilley, died in 2002, the family still sets up the displays every year to keep the tradition going. For the best directions, search for “Gilley Road” on an online map. Once you turn on Gilley Road, you can’t miss it.

What you think: “Gilley Road in Ball Play … been going there since I was a young kid and I love taking my kids every year god bless those people that do all that hard work for everyone to enjoy,” wrote Charles N Marsha Smith.

Cost: Free, donations accepted

Old Gadsden Highway, Saks

Various decorated houses

What you think: “Old Gadsden Hwy in Saks!!! My mother and my step-dad make all the wooden cut-outs and paint them themselves! Along with all the lights and decorations, Santa is there every Fri. and Sat. night to talk to the kids, have pictures made, and give goodie bags to girls and boys!! Every goodie bag contains a Bible and they want everyone to know the true meaning of Christmas!!!” wrote Donna Trantham Kay.

Keisha White said: “Old Gadsden Hwy in Saks is the best!!!”

Christmas at the Falls, Noccalula Falls, Gadsden

What: Every winter, Noccalula Falls Park gets a Christmas makeover with thousands of lights. This walking tour takes attendees through the pioneer village, but there is also a train ride, visit with Santa, cookie decorating, a petting zoo and a post office where children can write a letter to St. Nick.

When: Open through today, 5-9 p.m.

Cost: $5 for adults and children over 5. Children under 5 admitted free.

Contact: 256-549-4663, noccfalls.homestead.com



First Baptist Church of Glencoe, U.S. Highway 431

What: The building is decked out in thousands of lights, all synchronized to blink to music you can listen to on your radio (90.5 FM).

When: Nightly. The show lasts about 30 minutes, and is on a loop from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

What you think: “The First Baptist Church in Glencoe is awesome!” wrote Holly Hamilton Ramsey.

Homestead Hollow’s Christmas Light Spectacular, Springville

What: This driving tour takes you through displays of tens of thousands of lights, as well as a Christmas village with outdoor ice skating, Santa, crafts and games.

When: Through New Year’s Eve, dusk-10 p.m.

Cost: $4

What you think: “Homestead Hollow are new on our list of great Christmas lights,” wrote Marsha Dutton Armstrong.

Contact: www.homesteadhollow.com, 205-467-2002 or 205-467-3681

Fantasy in Lights, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga.

What: This self-driving or open-air trolley ride takes you seven miles through more than a dozen lighted scenes, each with its own sound system, which surrounds you with tailored musical arrangements as you ride through. Fantasy in Lights also has a 22,000-square-foot heated haven of shopping, dining and entertainment.

When: Through Dec. 30, 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Reserved tickets: prime night (tonight and Saturday) - $22 for adults; $11 for children (6-12). Value night - $16 for adults; $8 for children. Same-day-tickets are $25 for adult, $12.50 for children (6-12).

Contact: 1-800-225-5292 or www.callawaygardens.com.
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