Volunteer MaryLou Rohrbaugh of York replaces old lights to help prepare Rocky Ridge County Park for the Nov. 23 opening of its annual Christmas Magic
Volunteer MaryLou Rohrbaugh of York replaces old lights to help prepare Rocky Ridge County Park for the Nov. 23 opening of its annual Christmas Magic display. This years show is the first time the entire event will use LED lights. (Bil Bowden photo)

Setting up nearly 600,000 lights for Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park takes a dozen dedicated Yorkers about a month.

Thankfully, the work they have done to set up since early October was not affected by Hurricane Sandy, said Jeri Jones, program coordinator for York County Parks.

"We were lucky," said Jones. "We are on top of an 840-foot hill, so wind damage would have been the major concern."

Jones is happy the storms did not cause any problems with the lights display, and said things are "right on cue."

The opening: The 29th annual Christmas Magic -- A Festival of Lights begins Nov. 23 and runs through Dec. 31 at Rocky Ridge County Park, 3699 Deininger Road.

Lights, holiday scenes and musical entertainment fill the half-mile walking trail and five enclosed heated pavilions.

Included among the new scenes this year are a "Christmas at the Beach" Santa Claus scene and a holiday scene by the York County SPCA.

Christmas Magic was named one of the Top Ten Holiday Events in Pennsylvania by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2004, and one of the Top 13 Holiday Events in the Country by the Wall Street Journal in 2003.

Record attendance: Last year's event had record attendance of 43,800 people even with closures on six of the 35 nights it was scheduled to be open.

"The weather last year was excellent," Jones said. "We can advertise, but the weather is still what gets

people out."

"This year we're using all LED lights for the first time," said Jones.

Being 100 percent LED lowers the electric bill, Jones said.

Also new this year will be Cinderella's carriage converted to a Christmas theme and a volcano with a dinosaur scene.

Perennial favorites like the gingerbread house, light-o-rama and train displays will be back as well.

"People just enjoy coming out and seeing the lights," said Jones.

The hours: Christmas Magic hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors age 60 and over, $6 for children age 4 to 12, and free for children age 3 and under.

Visitors are welcome to bring canned goods to donate to the York County Parks Ranger Food Drive. The items will be given to the York County Food Bank.

The display will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25.

For more information call 840-7443 or visit www.yorkcountyparks.org.

Special nights at Christmas Magic:

---Toys for Tots Nights: Anyone who brings a new toy that is still packaged will receive a "buy one get one free" admission Nov. 23-25

---Pet Night: Pets are welcome to get photos with Santa Claus for $5 on Dec. 5

---Ice carvings from the York School of Culinary Arts will be on display in the event area Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. and will remain on display for as long as weather permits.

-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com