Reindeer Road holiday lights event kicks off in Naperville
The Reindeer Road holiday lights event in Naperville went from big to biggest.
After extensive reindeer research, organizers are confident they've created the largest light-up Rudolph in the world. It's a 40-foot structure with a blinking red nose that can be seen while driving by on the nearby Reagan Tollway.
They recommend, however, that you don't just drive by for a quick glimpse. Seeing the structure up close in the parking lot of Highpoint Church, at 1805 Highpoint Drive, is the best way for families to experience something unique.
A collaboration between Naperville residents Rich Janor, a park district board member, and Matt Baker, a lighting specialist, led to the first of what they hope will be many years of Reindeer Road events. Beyond the 40-foot Rudolph, there's a five-minute drive filled with displays and accompanying holiday music to enjoy.
"We're pretty sure it's the world's largest reindeer," Janor said. "And if we find out it's not, maybe we can just add to the antlers or something."
Reindeer Road, which costs visitors $10 per vehicle, is open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday from now through Dec. 19. The week of Christmas, it's open Monday through Christmas Day. Tickets can be purchased at reindeerroad.com or on site.
Free hot chocolate and candy canes are available, and visitors are encouraged to donate to Reindeer Road's charity partners, The Alive Center and KidsMatter. Souvenir winter hats and LED light bulb necklaces are on sale to benefit the charities.
"It's family-friendly entertainment that people can do on the spur of the moment if they want," Janor said. "We're trying to be as affordable as possible so as many people can come through as possible."
Janor was inspired to create Reindeer Road last year when driving through lit-up neighborhoods was one of the few ways to enjoy the holiday season with his partner Rhonda and their three children -- Archer, Brooklyn and Caiden -- during the pandemic.
Baker became involved through the holiday displays he created in his Naperville neighborhood. When the display outgrew the neighborhood, he hooked up with Janor and carried over his passion to Reindeer Road.
Together they hope to build a new holiday tradition in Naperville.
"Obviously we want to see how things go this year but we'd like this to become an annual event," Janor said. "Matt and I are both Naperville guys and we'd like to continue to grow this. This is kind of a first step for us."