The Best Christmas Lights in the South

The Best Christmas Lights in the South
 Words by Hannah Pellicer

Tis the season of tacky sweaters, hot chocolate, and quality time with family! It’s no secret that after almost a full year of adjusting to life in a pandemic, communities everywhere want to squeeze out the holiday cheer to the very last drop. So much so, it appears that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays have already started to blend together. Stores all over the region are quickly selling out of decorative supplies. With limitations on gathering in public spaces, could this be the perfect year to make the most out of nighttime drives, car caroling and window gazing at Christmas lights? Bryan Nichols thinks so.

Bryan Nichols, Macon, Georgia entrepreneur, started The Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza in 2016. After noticing that people would drive for hours to come see one house in the Macon community, Nichols decided to think of a way to bring in tourism to downtown Macon. The city is home to beautiful architecture, modern local cuisine, and an ample amount of history comparable to that of Savannah. It’s safe to say that Nichols achieved just that and more! With 500,000 twinkling lights covering the span of four city blocks, and of course, festive music to top it off, Macon hosts thousands of people every year.

Macon, Georgia is known as the festival capital of Georgia. Since the pandemic reached the United States, the Macon community has missed its usual atmosphere of busy streets, local vendors, and high spirits. In the spring, Macon hosts their annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry Blossom festival brings not only a huge turnout, but ten days-worth of food, concerts, and fun for people of all generations. Without the usual events, it is evident that this year, people need the light festival more than ever.

In addition, The Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza isn’t just a beautiful canopy of lights. The event kicks off each year with a live musical performance from the Macon Pops, a local, 40-piece orchestra, with music that syncs to the surrounding lights-- which Nichols will excitedly tell you, has never been done before! This year makes year three of syncing lights to live music and is sure to put a smile on many visiting faces. The light festival is also home to thousands of meaningful moments among people from all over, including wedding proposals, meeting with family from different places, and more.

With Covid-19 restrictions, the 2020 version will look a little different, but will still bring plenty of Christmas cheer. This year, the extravaganza will be linked to a radio station to provide a drive through option to keep the Macon community healthy and socially distant. The radio station will include the usual playlist that regulars can expect but will also have a variety of new songs that they have never synced before!

Visit Macon, Georgia this holiday season for The Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza, running from November 27th - January 3rd at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, and 9:00 pm!