DUFFIELD — Christmas is only a few weeks away, and that means there are only a few chances left to see this year’s Lighting of the Tunnel at Natural Tunnel State Park in Scott County.
The tunnel lightings — now in their 15th year — will take place from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and again on Dec. 20-21.
Natural Tunnel State Park Assistant Manager Ishmael Richardson said the annual event is one that is unique to both the park and Scott County.
“Natural Tunnel is one of a kind really,” Richardson said. “A lot of the places you drive through, but this you get out of your car, you’re outside and it’s just a more basic setting. It’s also great for families to come out and see.”
The lighting is part of the park’s annual 8 Days of Christmas event, which takes place over four weekends beginning in late November and includes thousands of festive lights, holiday decorations, Christmas carols and even appearances by Santa Claus.
Richardson said this weekend’s lightings will feature storyteller Gale Buck on Friday night and music by Thistle Dew on Saturday night. The final lightings of the season will also feature performances by John Kilgore and Friends on Dec. 20 and the Kaylor’s Chapel Baptist Church choir on Dec. 21.
After riding chairlifts decorated with lights down to the tunnel, visitors will be able to visit the park’s Carter Cabin to learn about the “Frontier Christmas” experience from a historical interpreter, or just relax by roasting marshmallows and visiting with friends and family at one of several campfires located near the tunnel’s entrance.
“We have the campfire rings, and people really enjoy sitting around the campfire and listening to the music,” Richardson said. “We also added the Carter Cabin interpreter a couple of years ago and a lot of people really seem to like that too.”
In addition to marshmallows, hot chocolate, apple cider and other snacks will be available for visitors.
Richardson said the park’s visitor center will also be open during the lighting events.
Attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather. Parking for the tunnel lighting is $3 per vehicle. Chairlift rides to the tunnel entrance are also $3.
For more information, contact Natural Tunnel State Park at (276) 940-2674.