The largest community Christmas light display in the southern hemisphere is set to bring joy to South Australians for the first time since 2018.
The iconic Lights of Lobethal proudly presented by RAA will return in 2021 following a two-year hiatus owing to the 2019 Cudlee Creek Bushfires and 2020 COVID-19-enforced shutdown.
The event will run from 12 – 31 December and is being presented for the first time by RAA – as part of a new three-year agreement.
The Lights of Lobethal have been an intrinsic part of the community since the early 1950s, when local business owners hand-painted light bulbs with paint, thinned down with turpentine, to decorate their shops and businesses. What began as a simple tradition by local businesses and homeowners to spread the true meaning and joy of Christmas throughout the Lobethal community soon started attracting visitors from surrounding towns, Adelaide and eventually, the world.
Today the Lights of Lobethal presented by RAA not only encompasses the spectacular festive light displays but also shines with a calendar of events and attractions that draw on the tradition and history of this iconic and much-loved event. This tradition quickly spread to residents and today about 80 per cent of all homes and businesses in the village “light up” for Christmas making this festival the largest Community Christmas Light display in the Southern Hemisphere.
Driving the streets of Lobethal this time of year is an essential festive pilgrimage making for the perfect date night or family tradition. There are so many decorated homes to discover that will evoke childhood wonder and make memories for life. There are penguins, elves, Christmas dragons, Father Christmas riding a motorbike, Christmas sleighs and reindeers galore! Not to mention the town’s special new addition two-metre tall Koko koala who has been generously donated by Costco long with Frosty the Snow Man. Koko and Frosty are part of the Lobethal Lights committee’s new lending program and will be moving around throughout the festival so make sure you keep an eye out for them!
Not to be missed is a visit to local town heroes Bill and Peg’s house on 5 Christmas Lane, Lobethal who have once again outdone themselves with over 50,000 lights twinkling into the night. Make sure you walk their verandah and enjoy peering into their spectacular Christmas windows with miniature Christmas villages and other Christmas treasures collected over a lifetime.
For more information
Key dates and times
- 12 – 23 December – Visit the main street’s Christmas lights Enjoy Lobethal’s main street Christmas lights and enjoy food and drinks from a wide range local businesses.
- 18 – 19 December – Twilight Markets (Free ticketed event) The curated line-up of bespoke high-quality market vendors delivers a treasure trove of delights, perfectly matched with local wine and food offerings. eventbrite.com.au/e/twilight-christmas-markets-tickets-211503932957
- 18 – 19 December – Valley of Praise Christmas Maze is a new addition to the Lights of Lobethal for 2021. The trail consists of 6 stops along the main street where children can be involved by exploring what the festival has to offer. Each stop there will be something to find, including a few little surprises children will be able to take home.
- 23 December – Pageant Night (Free ticketed event) On the local oval bursting with Christmas spirit, the Pageant is a visual delight spreading cheer.
- Until 31 December People can drive the streets of Lobethal and see hundreds houses twinkling into the night. The main road (Mt Torrens Rd) will be activated throughout the festival so stop, walk and explore!
Lights of Lobethal Map
Follow the Christmas Lights Route map to drive the dozens of local streets showcasing individual homes and businesses, jauntily draped in Christmas lights and decorative festive displays.
For the best driving experience, please follow all signage to help direct traffic to the best routes on offer!
Come for the lights, stay for the eats!
For visitors who want to wet their whistle or quieten a hungry tummy, the Committee recommends they plan a meal and enjoy an award-winning beer from The Lobethal Bierhaus or local wine from Hugel Wine Bar. Plus, there is always the famous Lobethal Bakery for a range of delicious baked goods. In addition, there are two great pubs in the town, who will welcome you for dinner and a drink, “the top pub” The Rising Sun, and “the bottom pub,” The Lobethal Hotel.
The festival has everyone covered with takeaway options too, look for the Amberlight and the Family Feast which are sure to be a hit for grumbling tummies. However, if people are seeking a touch of calm, they can head to Emma and Ivy to grab a coffee and bite to eat and immerse themselves in a calm green space.
After enjoying the sumptuous food and drink available, festival-goers can watch the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills come to life with a very special installation, ‘Flocking Together’, from world-renowned light artist Cindi Drennan from Illuminart. Each night attendees will be delighted as the Mills are bathed in colour and light.
Also, this year Fabrik Arts & Heritage in collaboration with the Lights of Lobethal will host the Twilight Markets 18 – 19 December which includes live music, food stalls and wonderful gifts from artists and makers. Finally on 23 December the formal festivities will come to a close with the Christmas Pageant in the Main Street, although residents’ lights will be shining every night until 31 December.
This year will also be the first time the festival is run by a new, community-led committee founded earlier this year.
As a leading road safety advocate, RAA is also urging drivers to pay attention to the road during their journey through the Adelaide Hills. Ms Perry said there will even be dedicated RAA patrol vans providing free roadside assistance to motorists at the event.
“We understand that the lighting displays are eye-catching and beautiful but, as always, drivers should remain vigilant if they’re behind the wheel. If attendees do have any issues with their vehicles, we will have our patrols on hand to help everyone to keep moving and enjoying the festivities safely.” Ms Perry said.
For more information on the 2021 RAA Lights of Lobethal Festival, including key dates and events:
IMAGES: Chantel Harding Photography