Meadow Brook Hall’s Winter Wonder Lights takes guests on a self-guided outdoor tour featuring unique light displays across the mansion’s grounds.

Meadow Brook Hall’s Winter Wonder Lights takes guests on a self-guided outdoor tour featuring unique light displays across the mansion’s grounds.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Meadow Brook Hall celebrates 50 years of Holiday Walk, debuts new outdoor light show

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published December 8, 2021

 Meadow Brook Hall’s Holiday Walk is a self-guided indoor tour of all three floors of the historic mansion, filled with holiday sights and decorations.

Meadow Brook Hall’s Holiday Walk is a self-guided indoor tour of all three floors of the historic mansion, filled with holiday sights and decorations.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

ROCHESTER — Meadow Brook Hall is ringing in the holidays with two festive events — the 50th anniversary of the estate’s annual Holiday Walk and the debut of the all-new Winter Wonder Lights.

Organizers say the beloved annual Holiday Walk takes visitors through a daytime tour of the historic mansion decked in shimmering splendor, while Winter Wonder Lights transforms the estate into an all-new light show at night featuring music, concessions and some holiday magic.

Meadow Brook Director of External Relations Shannon O’Berski said the estate opened to the public in 1971, and the Holiday Walk gave the public a chance to tour the home during the holidays.

“The Holiday Walk started out as something very different than it is today. Back in 1971, when the hall opened, it was open just during the weekends. The Holiday Walk was a different format, where local florists would decorate the rooms, and guests would go through and tour the house. Through the years, as interest expanded, we changed the event to include holiday lighting and decor throughout the entirety of the house, and now we’re open for a month, versus just a couple of weekends,” O’Berski explained.

Today, the Holiday Walk is a self-guided indoor tour of three floors of historic Meadow Brook Hall, filled with holiday sights and decorations. Guests can experience the wonder of more than 50 trees — including a 10-foot-tall poinsettia tree created by 150 live plants, hundreds of feet of garland and thousands of lights. A child-friendly scavenger hunt invites participants to follow footprints from “Cleo,” the home’s former family dog, to locate specific aspects of the house for a small prize.

“It’s just dripping with holiday decor, and it’s different every single year. It’s never the same,” O’Berski said.

By night, Meadow Brook Hall guests can enjoy Winter Wonder Lights, a completely new light attraction that made its debut at the historic estate Nov. 26.

“It was an opportunity to expand our audience,” O’Berski said. “We’ve had the Holiday Walk for 50 years. It’s successful. We love it. It’s become a tradition for the community for many folks, and we wanted to offer something that could be an extension for families. We think it’s a great date night and a great way to draw younger families and kids in.”

The new event is a self-guided outdoor tour featuring light displays across the estate grounds, selfie stations, bonfires and fun concessions like glow-in-the-dark cotton candy, signature cocktails, popcorn and hot meals in the outdoor café.

“What’s unique about the light show is that a lot of these displays make a connection to the house, whether folks are aware of that or not — there’s life-sized luminaries of chimneys that reflect the same pattern of the chimneys at Meadow Brook Hall; and we have the Pegasus Fountain, which is one of our most famous landmarks on the estate property, so we have the pegasus flying through the rose garden during the projection mapping. There are a lot of unique things that make it very much Meadow Brook, but it’s also a light show — just a fun and engaging, family-friendly light show,” O’Berski said.

Winter Wonder Lights also includes an inside tour of the main level of the estate. Child tickets include a pair of holiday specs that transform the lights into gingerbread men, Santa Claus or candy canes for a 3D effect.

“The house and the grounds are beautifully decorated. It’s so tastefully and beautifully done that you don’t want to leave,” said Hildy Fleming, a longtime Meadow Brook Hall volunteer.

Winter Wonder Lights runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 30 at Meadow Brook Hall, 350 Estate Drive in Rochester. Tickets cost between $12 and $22.

The historic estate’s annual Holiday Walk runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 23. Tickets cost between $7.50 and $20.

All attendees must purchase their tickets online prior to arriving, and Meadow Brook Hall members can access the Holiday Walk and Winter Wonder Lights for free. Meadow Brook Hall is located at 350 Estate Drive in Rochester. For more information, visit www.meadowbrookholidays.com or call (248) 364-6200.

Advertisement