What to know about Holiday Lights on the Hill, which starts Friday in Hamilton

Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill offers guests a holiday light experience that brings art and nature together. The popular attraction will be open from Nov. 22 through Jan. 5. CONTRIBUTED
Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill offers guests a holiday light experience that brings art and nature together. The popular attraction will be open from Nov. 22 through Jan. 5. CONTRIBUTED

A Hamilton holiday light display offers more than a place to drive through during the Christmas season.

Proceeds from Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill fund programs throughout the year and the display provides local entertainment for Butler County residents and draws visitors to Hamilton, said Sean FitzGibbons, executive director of Pyramid Hill.

He said money generated by the light display represents about 10 percent of the park’s annual budget, and net proceeds from last year’s display was about $40,000. That money is used to fund the general operating budget, provide maintenance in the 300-plus-acre outdoor sculpture park and the Ancient Sculpture Museum, and offset the cost of summer youth programs for members.

“This is one of the biggest fundraisers we have at the park,” FitzGibbons said. “Without the income from this event, pardon the pun, we couldn’t keep the lights on and running.”

In his first year at Pyramid Hill, FitzGibbons has talked to local residents who shared their childhood memories of seeing the “wonderful, magical” light display. Now in its 20th year, FitzGibbons said there are times when three generations of families are in the same car.

On average, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 guests visit the annual attraction, he said. FitzGibbons said the light display is a regional attraction that draws visitors to the city and is a source of outside revenue to local businesses.

Pyramid Hill will partner with Brave Berlin this year to bring park visitors a holiday light experience with more than a million glowing LED lights.

This year, Brave Berlin, the creators of Lumenocity and BLINK Cincinnati, will create an innovative projection-mapped sculptural installation inside the pavilion, FitzGibbons said. The partnership between Pyramid Hill and Brave Berlin began last year with a synchronized display that wrapped the exterior of pavilion with animation.

A few of the display’s big hits that will return include decorated ponds with swans, an ice-skating pond with a sequence of skaters that light up with doves overhead.

Hamilton’s 2.5-mile drive-through light display will be open nightly from Friday through Sunday, Jan. 5. The attraction will open at 6 p.m. daily. Visitors can expect to see light displays close to the road with gardens of light as well as those that go further and deeper into the park’s background and surrounding lakes, he said.

The cost of admission is $20 per carload Monday through Thursday and $25 Friday through Sunday. For a family of four, FitzGibbons called the light display “a great bargain.”

HOW TO GO

What: Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill

Where: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, (Ohio 128), Hamilton

When: Open every night, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, from Friday through Jan. 5. Hours: 6-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday

Cost: Monday through Thursday $20 (per carload); Friday through Sunday $25 (per carload). Admission for Pyramid Hill members presenting a membership card is $15 every day.

More info: www.pyramidhill.org or (513) 868-8336.