WALLINGFORD — The Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford is preparing for the Magic of Lights show to begin this weekend after almost a month of preparation.
This will be the Oakdale’s first event since the venue closed in March. Magic of Lights is a drive-through light show that has toured various states in the last 30 years. This will also be the first year Magic of Lights will be in Connecticut.
As a response to not knowing when things would go back to normal, general manager Michael Andrews and other executives had the idea to bring the light show to Wallingford. The show has already been done in New York at Jones Beach State Park and New Jersey at the PNC Bank Arts Center, both Live Nation venues.
“Not only would it be phenomenal for the building and great for the community, we’d be able to get some of our employees back,” Andrews said.
The drive through light show took 21 days to build with up to 12 employees working from the partnering company Fun Guys Entertainment and the Oakdale Theatre. For the duration of the light show, Andrews plans to rotate through the Oakdale’s employee roster.
Although he is looking forward to being able to provide the experience for the Wallingford community and the state, Andrews doesn’t anticipate the light show making up for the monetary loss the venue experienced after being closed eight months.
“It’s hard because we do have competition in Hartford, we have competition in Meriden, New Haven,” Andrews said. “This is new to the area. We’re hoping to push 25,000 cars through, but that’s 25,000 cars through 51 days including holidays.”
Businesses in the area are hoping the traffic to the show will bring more customers to them. Fabio Piolacela, owner of Serafino’s, an Italian restaurant across the street from the Oakdale, said it should be good for his restaurant but the hundreds of cars every night may be an issue.
Sagar Patel, owner of A&D Package Store, is looking forward to an increase in traffic.
“It would definitely be a positive,” Patel said. “Who wouldn’t want all of the exposure?”
At the end of the mile long light display show, families can get out of their cars, and enter “Santa’s Village” where a few families at a time will enter the venue for socially distant photos with Santa and to shop merchandise and gifts that can be shipped to their homes.
The Magic of Lights takes place each night regardless of weather. Tickets in advance are $25 per standard vehicle or $50 for limos and buses. The price is $5 more at the gate. The show runs from Nov. 13 to Jan. 2, 5-10 p.m.