Winter Wonderland Illuminations Grand Switch On

Winter Wonderland Illuminations Grand Switch On

3rd December 2012

Channel 4’s King of Christmas Lights, Paul Toole switched on Drusillas Park’s brand new Winter Wonderland Illuminations on Saturday, 1 December and declared the attraction officially open. 

Hundreds of revellers witnessed the spectacle including children from Alfriston School, as well as staff and visitors at the award-winning Sussex zoo. At an official event held at 4.30pm, Managing Director Christine Smith said a few words to mark the occasion before handing over to Paul for a ceremonial countdown and the grand switch on. The attraction will now run daily from 4.30pm until Sunday 6th January. 

Paul Toole is a leading figure in Christmas light shows and created the dazzling display at Drusillas Park. His own festive lawn display in Wells, Somerset is one of the biggest in the country and attracted national attention in 2011 after Paul starred in the Cutting Edge Channel 4 documentary, King of Christmas Lights.

Between 60–70,000 LED lights have been used to create the impressive Winter Wonderland scene at Drusillas, specifically chosen for their low energy consumption and environmental benefits. 

The display took a week to create and incorporates an animal themed light show, synchronised to festive music. Onlookers can see a host of magical creatures in an ice-capped kingdom, including reindeers, penguins, seals and polar bears. 

The concept of animating lights to music was originally founded in the USA, although is still very rare in the UK. It takes approximately 8 hours to sequence the lights to just one minute of music and Paul has utilised technology from the States in order to achieve this. 

Zoo Director, Christine Smith commented: “We have re-launched our Christmas offering for 2012 and thought a light display would provide a lovely addition to our Grotto and other festive events, which include the chance to meet Father and Mother Christmas, Hug a Husky and enjoy a festive glass of mulled wine. We are sure it will prove a popular attraction and any donations will be given to our Charity of the Year, Care for the Carers.” 

Paul added: “I feel really privileged to have been asked to design the display for Drusillas. When you are a Christmas nut like me, a project like this is right up my Christmas Street.”  


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