This WV town has one of the nation’s largest light shows

Welcome to the Ohio River city of Wheeling. With a modest population 28,000, it’s also the site of one of the nation’s largest light shows.

OglebayFounded in 1985, the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights has gained international acclaim for its dazzling drive-thru display featuring more than 1 million energy efficient LED lights. It’s been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Christmas Celebrations,” and has earned a spot on the American Bus Association’s Top International Events — just to name a few accolades.

One glimpse at the jaw-dropping display reveals why this light show is so popular. Motorists will encounter 89 lighted attractions along the six-mile drive through Oglebay Resort. The display features perennial favorites like the animated snowflake and rainbow tunnels, dinosaurs, Cinderella, Snoopy and Friends and a giant polyhedron star. There’s also Willard the Snowman, named for TV weather forecaster Willard Scott.


The 2017-2018 seasons brings two new displays to the collection. Inspired by the chameleons at Oglebay Good Zoo, the Christmas chameleon at Schenk Lake is made up of 450 lights and changes colors right before your eyes. The 24-foot-tall kaleidoscope Christmas tree at the Crispin Center consists of 1,800 LEDs and features animated gingerbread men and snowflakes that twirl up and down the display.

OglebayThe Winter Festival of Lights opens in mid-November and runs nightly through Jan. 1. You can cruise through the light display in your own vehicle or hop aboard the trolley and leave the driving to someone else. Trolley tours depart Wilson Lodge hourly from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

While you’re there, don’t miss out on these other special holiday events and attractions at Oglebay.

Gardens of Light and Nativity Display
On the hilltop, the gleaming brick pathways at Bissonnette Gardens come alive with the glow of more than 150 lighted hanging baskets and thousands of glowing hyacinths. A Christmas Tree Garden lights the way to the Mansion Museum with its 13 period rooms decorated for the holidays.

Santa’s Reindeer Training School
Two young reindeer have just flown in from the North Pole to train at Oglebay Good Zoo as they prepare to guide Santa’s sleigh. Participants will meet Santa’s reindeer and the zoo keepers who train them during this 30-minute animal encounter. Reservations required.

OglebayLight and Music Extravaganza at Oglebay Good Zoo
This nightly event at the zoo’s outdoor patio features more than 35,000 LED lights choreographed to your favorite holiday music.

Christmas at Crispin
Head to the Crispin Center for holiday fun for the whole family. Attractions and activities include the Festival of Trees, train rides and wagon rides, a Christmas shop and live entertainment.

Other featured holiday events at Oglebay Resort include Breakfast with Santa, a Christmas Day Buffet and nightly entertainment with complimentary refreshments at the Hickman Lounge.

Take advantage of one of the many winter and holiday packages Oglebay offers to find special deals on overnight lodging, Festival of Lights vehicle passes, Breakfast with Santa, souvenir ornaments and more.

Oglebay is a four-season resort. Amenities include spa services, golf, skiing and horseback riding.

When are you planning your trip?

This post was last updated on March 17, 2022