Armstrong Museum prepares ‘Grand Illumination’ for drive-in display

WAPAKONETA – For almost 10 years, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum has been inaugurating the holiday season by illuminating their grounds with a vast array of festive and colorful lights. The overall exhibition contains a multitude of space-themed displays made from tens of thousands of lights, with prominent works including a 20-foot-tall Saturn V rocket and a giant Apollo-era astronaut saluting the American flag.

The display officially kicks-on at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov 27, when the lights are turned on for the first time during the “grand illumination” event. The museum itself will be open as part of the event for guests to shop or visit from 6 to 8 p.m. After the grand illumination, the lights will be on for guests to enjoy from dusk until dawn every night until the end of the year.

“The lights bring a lot of joy to people in community,” says Facilities Manager and Lights Display Creative Designer Scott Walton. “With 2020 being such a difficult time for people, the museum wanted to make sure that the community still had the ability to enjoy some aspects of the holidays.”

To help promote social distancing and accessibility this year, the holiday lights display has been modified into a drive-thru event. Holiday lights will be spread periodically throughout the museum parking lot to allow guests to experience the lights from the convenience of their own vehicle.

“The museum has always considered public health as our top priority when planning or adjusting our events,” said Executive Director Dante Centuori. “Converting the holiday lights display into a drive-thru event enables guests to participate in holiday festivities while minimizing their contact with other parties. Plus, you stay a little warmer not having to get out of your car.”

It is also noted by Centuori that for the grand illumination event, guests are required to wear face coverings, remain socially distant from other parties, and to park in the RV/bus parking lot to avoid blocking the holiday lights located on the main drive. Donations will be accepted on-site and online via the donation tab on the Armstrong Museum website. The guestbook will also be located on the museum website within the holiday lights display event tab on the “Upcoming” events dropdown handle. For more information, visit the Armstrong museum website or follow the Armstrong Museum Holiday Lights Display on Facebook.