York County Parks: 'Christmas Magic' tickets only $5 this year

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Holiday celebrations will look different for everyone this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the York County Department of Parks and Recreation hasn't given up on one of its annual traditions.

Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park will be open  Nov. 27 through Dec. 31 (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and will use a timed ticket reservation system to ensure proper social distancing.

"We still thought it was important to try and have a show," said York County Parks Director Michael Fobes. "And maybe people can come up and take their mind off all the problems for a little bit."

Attendees will have to do without some of the event's usual attractions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the exception of restrooms, none of the buildings will be open to visitors, which means there won't be a model train display, a volunteer food stand, a meet and greet with Santa Claus or live entertainment, and there will be no "pet night," officials said.

Owen Potteiger, 9, left, talks to his mother, Holly Potteiger, both of Manchester Township, during the 35th annual Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Picnic tables and seating areas will be closed.

But with nearly one million LED lights, the outdoor display will be brighter than ever.

To make up for the loss of indoor activities this year, York County Parks cut ticket prices in half.

The cost for adults, senior citizens and children age 4 and older will be $5 per ticket, compared with $10 in past years, and children age 3 and younger get in free.

Reservations are required to attend Christmas Magic. No walk-ins will be permitted.

York County Parks introduced its timed ticketing system in 2018 to address the traffic congestion and long wait times to get into the trail.

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A fixed number of tickets will be sold for each 30-minute increment during the trail's hours of operation. The setup ensures the parking lot and walking trail won't be overcrowded.

There was a learning curve for the public to get used to the new system that first year, Fobes said, but by 2019, people caught on quickly and the timed ticket system ran smoothly.

Those two years of experience made it a little easier to deal with all of the changes required for the 2020 event, he said.

"I’m not sure, without it, we would've been able to do it (Christmas Magic) this year," Fobes said.

To abide by social distancing and provide more room between attendees on the trail, York County Parks will sell half the usual number of tickets during each 30-minute increment, Fobes said.

Masks will be required on the trail and inside restrooms.

If you go: Christmas Magic will be open Nov. 27, through Thursday, Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 24-25). Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at ChristmasMagicYork.com, by phone at 717-840-7440 or in person at the John C. Rudy County Park administrative center.

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