Central New York

Hundreds On Hand For 25th Annual Lights on the Lake

Locals brought their dogs to this special walking event of a storied Central New York tradition

By Irfan Uraizee LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – It’s one of the biggest light shows in the Northeast, drawing Central New Yorkers to Onondaga Lake and serving as a bright reminder the holidays are right around the corner.

“It’s a Syracuse tradition, it’s been here for twenty-some years. As long as I’ve lived in Syracuse,” said Syracuse resident Ann Kurtz.

A Central New York staple

The 25th edition of Lights on the Lake featured a special preview event Nov. 13 that was free of charge. During the event’s normal run, the trail is open to vehicles only. This special event was a rare opportunity, letting locals walk the through the two-mile festive light display up close and personal.

“I thought it was much better than driving through because I feel like it brings the community together,” said Christine Stewart of North Syracuse. I’m seeing even though it’s cold and snowy outside, there’s still a lot of people coming out tonight.”

Locals were even treated to the season’s first snowfall.

“It makes it a little more magical, kind of a fun holiday thing,” said Manlius resident Eric Van Ostenberg.

“It feels like it should be snowing. It’s Syracuse,” said Tipp Hill’s Eric Parrah. “You walk through the Lights on the Lake you know the whole point is it’s about the wintertime, so it’s kind of fitting that it’s snowing right now.”

All for a good cause

While the bright lights were the main attraction, folks agreed they weren’t even the best part. Everyone’s favorite four-legged companions kept walkers company on the beautiful but frigid night.

It’s like a community feel,” Parrah said. “All the dog owners get around, you get to see a lot of different kinds of dogs and everyone is kind of happy. Especially now that it’s starting to snow. It’s very fitting for Syracuse.”

Many attendees made a charitable donation to the Human Association of Central New York, which is a local no-kill, not-for-profit animal shelter whose mission is to find homes for displaced pets and animals, according to event organizers.

Plan your trip

Vehicles will be permitted beginning Friday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission will be $10 per car Monday through Thursday and $15 per car Friday through Sunday.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, visitors will receive a discount for showing their Wegmans Shoppers Club card on Monday or Tuesday.

Syracuse University students can purchase $5 advance tickets through the school’s Department of Recreation Services.

The special event allowed walkers to bring their dogs while taking in the bright lights. © 2014 Irfan Uraizee

Event organizers said attendance has increased over the past three years. © 2014 Irfan Uraizee