Up & Coming Weekly

December 07, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 13 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM DECEMBER 8-14, 2021 UCW 13 A place where nature and adventure meets — that's what Sweet Valley Ranch promises its visitors. They have offered Dinosaur inter- actions during the hot sum- mer months and a terrifying haunted house around Hal- loween. Now that it's December, the Ranch will be covered in Christmas and holiday lights. Festival of Lights was started last year during the pan- demic. Fred Surgeon came up with the idea and soon enough, 18,000 people came out to look at the lights over the course of 17 nights. This year, there are more lights, more attractions and an entirely new interactive section of the event. "Be prepared for an amaz- ing, dazzling, sparkling light show," Debbie Munn, execu- tive assistant, Surgeon & As- sociates, Inc., said. "This year at Festival of Lights, we are going to incor- porate all of the attractions we've had during the year into the light show." The Festival of Lights fea- tures over one million lights and 350 animals throughout the show. The light displays range in themes as well. Dinosaurs, Star Wars, a Gingerbread House, a life-size nativity scene and a Military and First Responders Tribute. The Grinch will also be by Tiny's Winter Wonderland and be causing some chaos of his own at the Grinch's Mansion. There are two sections of the festival. The main part of the event will be drive-thru only where visitors in their cars can see all different types of light displays. There is also a Drive-Thru concession called Cattle- man's Loft. "You don't even have to get out of your car," Munn said. "You can buy food, you can buy gifts, you can buy T-shirts from all of our attractions." The Cattleman's Loft will also feature a 14-foot Christ- mas tree, named Gabriel's Trumpet Tree for how it is decorated. The other section of the event will where the corn maze was for the Halloween attractions, Tiny's Winter Wonderland. This is where people can walk around and interact with the attractions. People can park, get out of their cars, get some food and enjoy amusement rides as well as visits with Santa. But the lights are not the only thing that will create ex- citement at the Sweet Valley Ranch. They also are aiming to help local charities and lo- cal non-profits. The Surgeons have created the Sweet Valley Ranch Gives Back Program. This program, which only launched a little more than a month ago, is to help charities that help people locally. If charities can man one of the concession trucks over in Tiny's Winter Wonderland, during one of the nights of Festival of Lights, they will receive at least a $500 portion of the proceeds as well as a match of up to $1,000 from Fred Surgeon and his wife. They started the program with their Halloween event. They plan on continuing the Give Back program through- out their other events next year: Dinosaur World, Tiny's Corn Maze, and Backwoods Terror Ranch. The goal of Sweet Valley Ranch Gives Back, backed by Surgeon & Associates, Inc., is to give $50,000 minimum over the course of the year. So far, $8,000 has been donated to three different charities. Operation Inasmuch received $2,000, Agape Pregnancy Support Services received $2,000 and the Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity received $4,000. They are open to working with more local charities over the course of the year. If you are interested in your organization being consid- ered please email svrgives- back@surgeon-associates. com the organization name, contact person, phone num- ber and a brief statement on why you would be a good fit for the program. The char- ity must be a non-profit and provide services within Cumberland County. Tickets for the Festival of Lights can be purchased online or at the ticket booth. Tickets for adults and chil- dren are $10 a person. Chil- dren aged 2 or under are free. Farm Wagon tours are also available for large groups. Prices start at $230 and can go up to $750. Sweet Valley Ranch will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The final night of the event will be on Dec. 26. Sweet Valley Ranch brings light to the ranch, the community by HANNAH LEE Above: Sweet Valley Ranch prepares for Festival of Lights. (Photo cour- tesy of Surgeon & Associates, Inc.) Below: Festival of Lights features an interactive area with Santa at Santa's North Pole. (Photo courtesy of Surgeon & Associates, Inc.) e new lighted tunnel at Sweet Valley Ranch is setup for people to drive through this tunnel to see the Festival of Lights. (Photo courtesy of Sur- geon & Associates, Inc.) HANNAH LEE, Assistant Editor. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. COVER STORY

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