A tunnel of lights is a highlight of the drive-thru holiday light show at Cumberland Fairgrounds through Jan. 2. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

Those who are looking for a fun and safe way to feel merry and bright this month need look no further than the Cumberland Fairgrounds, where Maine Celebration of Lights, a drive-through light display, is brightening the night sky now through Jan. 2.

More than 1 million LED lights and animatronic scenes adorn the route, which is just over a mile long and takes about 20 minutes to drive.

“I hope it gets people in the holiday spirit. It’s a great COVID-safe event,” said Lyle Merrifield, president of Cumberland Farmers Club, the nonprofit that owns the fairgrounds. “People don’t have to get out of their car to be together.”

Fiesta Shows, a traveling amusement provider that specializes in festivals, carnivals and fairs is hosting the light display at the fairgrounds at 197 Blanchard Road in Cumberland.

A Christmas tree with gifts is one of many displays visitors will see at the event open through Jan. 2. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

The experience starts with lighted displays of presents, Santa Claus and a Christmas tree. The show then transitions into “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with lights showing a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, and so on. Drivers are also greeted with lighted emojis during their drive before going through a tunnel of twinkling lights, and plenty of  ornaments, trees and candy canes are featured along the route.

Drivers are allowed to pull over and put on their hazard lights if they would like to take photos or take an extra moment to enjoy the displays. While the show is not synchronized to music, drivers are encouraged to play holiday tunes in their cars. Fair fare, such as fried dough, popcorn, hot chocolate and other goodies, is offered at a food truck.


“It’s the first year we’re hosting this. So if there’s any glitches, we’ll work those out,” Merrifield said.

The show runs seven days in two time slots, 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., and will also open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Tickets are $20-$50 per vehicle at fiestashows.com/lights, depending on the day of the week and the size of the vehicle.

The show is being put on at no cost to the town or to the Cumberland Farmers Club. The fairgrounds association will be given a percentage of each ticket sold, Merrifield said. He could not be reached for comment about the amount of that percentage.

The 10th day of Christmas at the Maine Celebration of Lights. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

This is the first time the New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows is hosting a show of this type in Maine, but the company has participated in the Bangor State Fair and the Skowhegan State Fair in the past. According to CEO E.J. Dean, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the company to shift to a different type of entertainment.

“When the industry shut down during the pandemic, we looked at alternative ways to keep our employees employed and engaged. One of those things we developed were drive-thru light shows,” Dean said. “Last year, we operated two in Massachusetts … They were such a success, we decided to expand them this year.”

Fiesta Shows chose the fairgrounds as a Portland-area location because it has an easy layout that is regularly maintained.

“I hope this brings some very fun holiday enjoyment,” Dean said. “It’s a great way to have a night out with the whole family.”

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