Lockerly

After more than 5,000 cars drove through in 2020, Lockerly in Lights is back for its second year with three 2021 dates remaining. The holiday drive-thru attraction is open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18 with admission set at $10 (cash or check) per vehicle. 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world masks, Zoom meetings, and at least one other thing in the fight for some sense of normalcy — drive-thru events. 

That’s how the community got the 2020 edition of “Lockerly in Lights,” a festive holiday season drive through the picturesque Lockerly Arboretum grounds adorned in light displays. Little did the arboretum staff know, though, that the inaugural offering would draw more than 5,000 cars in just a few weekends last year. 

Even with things hopefully getting back to normal now, that type of demand is hard to say no to, so Lockerly in Lights is up and running for its second year. 

“People had been cooped up all year,” Lockerly Executive Director Jennifer Pollard said of last year’s success. “It was pre-vaccine. We were a shiny new toy, but we were also safe, so it was quite a hit last year. We loved seeing the joy on everybody’s faces when they came through. It went so well that we decided to build on it and try to make it even bigger and better this year. I think we’ve succeeded.”

The drive/ride, which takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes, features decorations that mix botanical and holiday themes for eyes young and old to enjoy. Those who attended in 2020 will be glad to know that approximately 60 displays — some gifted by the Atlanta Botanical Garden — have been added this year, keeping the experience fresh. The entire effort is spread across a mile-long loop that covers about 50 acres. There’s a light tunnel that guides drivers over the dam next to the Lockerly pond, and even a cornfield made entirely out of lights. 

“People are crazy about the corn,” said Pollard. “It’s a huge hit.”

Lockerly in Lights 2021 has been open to the public the past two Saturdays, and will continue for the next three. Remaining dates for this year are Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 with the local attraction being open from 6 to 9 p.m. each of those nights. Admission is $10 per car with only cash or check accepted as forms of payment. 

Pollard pointed out that the first hour has been the busiest each night, so those looking for shorter wait times should arrive later in the three-hour window. 

With Lockerly in Lights having been so popular, the local arboretum is looking to continue growing and building the event for the future. The executive director said the long-term goal is to offer a walk-through option in addition to the existing drive-thru setup. 

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