SPRINGFIELD — For the second consecutive year, the Bright Nights holiday lighting display at Forest Park has been nominated by USA Today as one of the best holiday lighting displays in the United States, with area residents and fans everywhere encouraged to cast their votes online.
USA Today narrowed hundreds of public holiday lighting displays down to 20 on the list that will be considered by readers.
Last year, Bright Nights was named the fourth best display in the country in the USA Today poll.
“Bright Nights at Forest Park is, of course, ‘the’ favorite public light display,” said Spirit of Springfield President Judith Matt. “We would love to make it official and add it to our growing list of awards and accolades. This year, we have already earned the distinction of being one of the American Bus Association’s “Best of the Best.”
Bright Nights opens for its 26th season, running Nov. 25 to Jan. 3, with precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Votes can be cast now, and can be done daily on the USA Today site, 10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-holiday-lights-display, through Dec. 7, at noon.
The Top 10 winning displays will be announced on 10Best.com on Dec. 18.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined in urging the public to vote for Bright Nights.
“I know we are just coming off a big national vote of hope during these challenging and surreal times, and what better way to top off that vote than by voting for another brightness at the end of the tunnel,” Sarno said in the prepared news release.
Spirit of Springfield has presented Bright Nights at Forest Park since Nov. 24, 1995, providing entertainment to more than 6,000,000 people over the years. The private, nonprofit organization provides the holiday display in partnership with the city Department of Parks, Building and Recreation Management.
Other contenders for best holiday lighting show include: the Austin Trail of Lights, in Austin, Texas; Hershey Sweet Lights, in Hershey, Penn.; the Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Honolulu City Lights, in Honolulu, Hawaii; and the Lights on the Lake, in Liverpool, New York.
In addition, the Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” in Deluth, Minn.; Christmas Town USA, Mcadenville, N.C.; Christmas Tree Lane, Fresno, Calif.; Festival of Lights, Riverside, Calif.; the Holiday Lights on the River Walk, San Antonio, Texas; Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville, Penn.
Also, the Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill, Clifton, Ohio; Light Up Cape May, Cape May, N.J.; Lights of the Ozarks, Fayetteville, Ark.; Lights Under Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky; Natchitoches Christmas Festival, Natchitoches, Louisiana; Nights of Lights, St. Augustine, Fla,; Winter Wonderland, Portland, Oregon; and Winterlights, Stockbridge and Canton, Mass.
USA Today, in opening the Readers Choice 2020 poll, said that amid the coronavirus pandemic, “we’ll keep supporting the the places that inspire us.”
The website, regarding the favorite public lights display, said: “Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and the smell of turkey is in the air. The holidays are upon us.”