Going to see Christmas lights over the holiday season is a big deal in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure if this is the case in other parts of the country, or even other parts of the state, but we absolutely love driving or walking through Christmas light displays around here. One of the best kept secrets in the area is the Christmas Light Up Celebration at Clinton Park in Clinton, Findlay Township.
About the Christmas Light Up Celebration
The idea for the drive-through Christmas Light Up Celebration was formed in 1993, when the founders visualized the park done up in a light display to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas. Entertainment value aside, this volunteer-run display also gives back to the community by donating proceeds to a diverse group of charities with various needs.
“Our mission is to generate unity within our community by celebrating the Christmas Spirit together and to bring positive attention to our township from those outside its borders. It is also our ambition to continue a healthy community tradition of raising spiritual support for the worthwhile organizations within our area that help those who are in physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial need and to help other organizations, individuals, and groups who need such support.”Christmas Light Up Night Mission Statement – 2018
Attractions to See at the Christmas Light Up Celebration
On your mile-long drive through Clinton Park you will see various elaborately staged light scenes, and stand-alone attractions and listen to Christmas music on speakers hidden throughout the display. The Christmas Light Up Celebration blends religious Christmas with secular Christmas. Throughout the journey you will see a beautiful manger scene (keep an eye out for the Wise Men, I feel like they’re always on the move!); a church with stained-glass windows; Noah, his ark, and the animals; and even Santa, the cast of the Peanuts, and the Grinch visiting baby Jesus. These are just a few of the religious-themed attractions you’ll see throughout the park.
There is secular fun to be had as well. See if you can spot Santa doing all his favorite activities, like driving a race car, fishing, playing guitar, and hitching up the sleigh to make his deliveries. Make sure you watch out for Rudolph, too, because he likes to jump over cars driving through.
Some of the displays are just winter themed. Frosty the Snowman jumps on a trampoline, rambunctious Penguins have a snowball fight, ice skaters glide around a pond, and shy deer hide down in the valleys among expertly lit trees.
Another unique display is one I remember popping up in 2001, after September 11, though it could have been there all along and that was just the first year I noticed it. One portion of trees is wrapped in red white and blue lights, God Bless America signs are hung above the lights, and the Statue of Liberty stands proud. I always though this section was special because it was different than just the same old thing.
On one of the last legs of your journey, you’ll drive through a Christmas tree lot — literally, a parking lot full of decorated Christmas trees. Sponsors have decorated their trees to reflect their families or organizations. Janoski’s even includes a greenhouse and Santa driving a tractor!
There are so many lights you might have to take a second drive through just to see them all! In the past, the price of admission has allowed visitors to drive through multiple times, and we were still able to do this when we went. However, according to the Christmas Light Up Celebration Facebook page, it is not a guarantee that you will be able to drive through more than once. Traffic and safety restrictions may prohibit this practice if cars are backing up on Route 30.
Christmas Light Up Celebration
Hours: Open nightly through Jan 6. – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Open on Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve and Day.
Admission: $10 per car.
Notes: A second drive through the display is not included in the price of admission, and will be permitted only if traffic and safety restrictions allow.
Detours: Traffic detours will be posted on Dec. 14, 15, 21, and 22. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Traffic will be routed from Route 30 West onto Matchette Road, left onto Camp Meeting Road to Clinton Park Road. Police officers will be on Route 30 to assist with the detour.