When I was a kid, we had a family tradition of piling into the station wagon during the Christmas season and driving around town, oohing and aahing at houses decked out in lights. We’ve continued the Christmas lights tradition as adults, only now we don’t drive around neighborhoods looking for homes decorated Griswold style. Instead we find one or two big displays put on by zoos, towns or civic organizations. This year we discovered a winner with the Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair in southern Illinois. Not only does Du Quoin display an awesome drive-through lights show; they include a big indoor fair, as well.
Editors note: This article has been updated for 2023.
Du Quoin Holiday Lights Drive-Through
Millions of twinkling lights make up the three-mile long drive-through lights experience at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Most of the displays are two-dimensional figures in holiday-related themes, such as Christmas trees, gingerbread houses and old-fashioned carolers. Others are three-dimensional displays lighted by spotlights. The displays around the lakes reflect in the water, creating an illusion of a double figure.
Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair – Expo Hall
During the first three weekends in December, after you’ve viewed the lights, stop into the Expo Center for more holiday fun. Enjoy live entertainment while you browse craft and vendor booths. The little ones can visit with Santa and take a free train ride. Food is available, so plan to stay for a bite to eat.
If you go
In 2023, the lights display is open nightly beginning Thanksgiving night through Thursday, December 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per car, cash only (commercial carriers and tour buses $1 per person).
The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds is located at 655 Executive Drive, off of U.S. Route 51, in Du Quoin, Illinois. Click here for further details.
Disclosures: Our visit to the Du Quoin Holiday Lights fair was hosted by the Du Quoin Tourism Commission, and we received complimentary admission.
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