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One million twinkling lights will line Los Abrigados’ winding pathways and Spanish-style courtyards starting Thursday, Nov. 16, during the Red Rock Fantasy holiday festival at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa.
By Ella Garrett
Larson Newspapers
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One million twinkling lights will line Los Abrigados’ winding pathways and Spanish-style courtyards starting Thursday, Nov. 16, during the Red Rock Fantasy holiday festival at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa.

This Sedona tradition, now in its 16th year, draws an average of 100,000 visitors a year to see the 45 volunteer-built displays.

Each display is constructed for no more than $500.

Because the show is a competition, there is a spending limit.

“They can only spend $400 per site,” said Lori LoDuca, Red Rock Fantasy co-coordinator and vice president of ILX Resorts. “And they have to provide receipts. We don’t want some professional coming in.”

Participants are provided a $100 gift card and 12,000 lights and have five days to construct their exhibits.

LoDuca said most participants spend about 50 hours building during those five days and 50 hours in pre-production.

Designs are all committee-reviewed and are different every year.

This year’s exhibits include “Sunkist Sedona,” “Christmas — Deal or no Deal” and “I-Rish you a Merry Christmas.”

Past years have featured a marshmallow village, Elvis, Shrek and a blue-light river reconstituted from a natural dry wash on the property.

There are four awards categories: People’s Choice, voted on by every adult that visits the festival; Kid’s Choice, voted on by every child; Contestant’s Choice; and the Green Award, presented by the Institute of EcoTourism for the exhibit that uses the most recycled materials.

This year, Red Rock Fantasy is raising funds for the Institute of EcoTourism.

IET is located next to Los Abrigados at 91 Portal Lane and is dedicated to promoting environmentally-conscious tourism, sustainable community development and environmental education.

A different local charity is chosen as the festival’s beneficiary every year.

“We try to pick mostly local charitable organizations that work toward education or benefit kids,” LoDuca said.

The festival typically raises between $5,000 and $20,000 for charity.

Horse-drawn carriage rides and hay rides will click their way though the property and Santa will be on hand during weekends until Saturday, Dec. 23.

At the end of the exhibit, the “Dancing Lights” will leap and blink to the beat of traditional holiday tunes as free hot cider warms the hands of chilled participants.

Red Rock Fantasy tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children ages 4 through 12.

The festival is open from 5 p.m. every night of the week through Monday, Jan. 1.

For more information, call 282-1777.


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