Matthew Glaser, CEO of BOLD Media, which owns 104.7 WELJ radio station, is on a mission to make this year's Riverhead Holiday Light Show, Suffolk County's largest drive-through light show, be the greatest ever. It is slated to return Thursday, November 19, at the Long Island Sports Park in Calverton.
In an exclusive talk with Hamptons.com, Glaser told us that this year's show is all new and will feature dozens of larger-than-life displays, some towering as tall as three stories and spanning more than 50 feet in length, spread over the course of a one-mile driving trail. He said, "I am proud that this year we have incorporated numerous new, never-before-seen displays for guests to enjoy through the roughly 25-minute drive. Half of the displays are entirely brand new to Riverhead."
The Light Show will utilize 104.7 WELJ FM to broadcast specially curated seasonal music for the illuminating experience into each car radio as they drive through.
Glaser explained, "People, as they did last year, will experience tons of new displays and beautiful scenes to offer an entirely different experience than they had last year. We are excited about that and, of course, to be back for a third year of this mile-long Christmas show. Everybody is in their own car and several of the displays are synchronized to the music we will broadcast over your FM radio. The entire experience is safe in your own vehicle. You drive through the show and you are looking at these beautiful scenes and it makes a completely novel experience for people coming through the show. We believe the synchronized music adds another dimension."
Glaser grew up in Smithtown on Long Island, but when asked about observing his first super-impressive Christmas lighting display, he revealed, "Actually it was on a trip to California. We were in Northern California, I don't remember where, I was probably ten or eleven-years-old. I had never seen an actual Christmas light show ever before and it was absolutely beautiful. People were lining up for miles to come and see this and it became a tradition for that community and all the kids were having a great time - I remember being one of them. It was an experience like I had never seen before, especially the size of the displays, they just blew my mind. Now, given the opportunity to do that for so many other people, it's kind of a magic experience because we get to bring that magic of the holidays and make this light show a tradition for people all across Long Island. We enjoy bottling up the magic of Christmas lights and bringing it here to Riverhead every Christmas. I think we have done a great job of it."
Lastly, about the lights, he shared, "Our mile of an uncountable number of individual lights are all LED. We are energy efficient and conservative with the amount of power we use versus the days of commonly used incandescent light bulbs. LED does make a world of difference."
In closing, Glaser stressed, "Something that is unique to our light show, and our light shows plural, is that again, every year as we did last year, as we are doing this year, about roughly half of the displays are entirely new to Riverhead, so year to year it is never the same experience when you come to the Riverhead Holiday Light Show. People have a reason to come back each year because they are not going to see the same thing twice. Whatever they see this year will not be what they saw last year, nor it be what they will see next year. It makes the experience that much more fun for everyone because there is always something new."
Pricing is $23 per car if bought online and $25 at the gate.
Long Island Sports Park is located at 149 Edwards Avenue in Calverton. For more information, visit riverheadlightshow.com.