"The Miracle of Lights," an annual holiday display that has attracted thousands of people to Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, has been canceled for this year, a victim of high gasoline prices.
Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority officials, who operate Bull Run park, announced that the show's independent producer, EventsUSA of Northwest Washington, said it would be unable to mount the drive-through light show, which started in 1997.
The two-mile drive through more than 200 animated scenes featured in excess of 1 million light bulbs, the producer has said. The show usually opened Thanksgiving week and ended the first week of January. The park agency leased the land to EventsUSA to operate the show.
Joan O'Dell, vice president of EventsUSA, said that a few months ago, when company officials were deciding whether to put on the show, gasoline prices were more than $3 a gallon.
Most of the workers who install the show live about 60 miles west of Centreville, she said. It takes about five weeks to install the lights, and company officials were concerned that the cost of installation would rise because of the high gasoline prices.
Moreover, O'Dell said, the company was worried that attendance -- and revenue -- would drop off because of gasoline prices. Had the company known gas prices would fall, she said, it might have reconsidered.
"It's too bad, but we hope to do it next year," O'Dell said.
"We're disappointed that the show won't happen this year," Paul A. Gilbert, executive director of the park authority, said in a news release. "Unfortunately we were informed too late in the season to seek another producer. We have been encouraged by the volume of calls and e-mails from local residents seeking information about 'The Miracle of Lights' and will make it a priority to offer a similar holiday themed feature in the near future."
-- STEPHEN C. FEHR