Visitors from near and far walked through the Franklin Festival of Lights, the opening night of the 15 day light festival at the Phifer Ice Dam Park, 880 Main Road, Lehighton.

For James Lazarchick, 2, it was his first time attending the event and he had no qualms climbing into Santa's lap. James was with his parents, Janice and Brian Lazarchick from Waldorf, Md.

"We're originally from Lehighton," said Janice. "We love coming to see the lights.

For Ken and Kathy Levitt, they brought two of their three daughters for a stroll among the pretty Christmas lights.

"We usually come a few times a season," said Ken. "We were so disappointed when they didn't have them last year.

"We've been coming since 2003."

Kathy added, "We're loving the weather. Usually we have to bundle up the kids."

Also enjoying the lights were Julie Matyascik and her children, Ruth, 4, and Charlie, 2, of Norfolk, Va. and Julie's mother, Nancy Matyascik of Summit Hill.

"My favorite is Cinderella and the Prince," said Ruth. Her brother liked the "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer," movie playing in the bandshell.

"I'm leaving for home tomorrow," said Julie. "I'm in the Navy, so I have a 6-hour ride tomorrow."

Everyone was enjoying the balmy 50 degree temperatures as they strolled the grounds and listened to the sounds of Christmas carols waffling through the park.

The displays seemed brighter and more plentiful than ever.

Many of the lights were changed to LEDs which do burn brighter and use less electricity.

The light displays were everywhere: in the pond, on the trees, in the bushes and on the playground.

The lights will continue to shine Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until Dec. 23. The festival opens at 5:15 p.m. each day.

Possibly as many as 400,000 lights shine brilliantly in the giant walk-through display that lights up the park. Festival dates are Nov. 24, 25 and 30 and Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23,

After walking through the light show, may families stop at the Christmas Cafe and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or other treat.

For the handicapped or elderly, there are golf cart driven tours available. Anyone requiring a golf cart should call (610) 377-7703 for reservations.