Lights zooming and flickering along a tunnel merely hint at the spectacle of Muskogee's Garden of Lights.

Wind down Agency Hill's path and the color, animation and reflection spreads like a dazzling quilt below.

Garden of Lights, a tradition for 31 years, runs Thanksgiving Day through New Years Day at Honor Heights Park. 

"We have lots of moms and dads in the community in which this has always been a part of their lives," said Rick Ewing, assistant superintendent for parks. "It has become such a strong tradition that we have people who come from other cities for another reason. We find that they either grew up here and it has become part of their personal holiday tradition, or somebody brought them and they came one time and just fell in love with it, and they come back."

Many come back to see favorite displays, including lights reflected in the water or gracing trees and azalea bushes. People also love animated displays of children playing or animals frolicking.

"We rebuilt quite a number of the old displays," Ewing said, adding that the rebuilding has taken several years. "We have finally gotten through all of them but one. And we have created a few new ones as well this year."

Ewing didn't say what the new ones would be. But he hinted there would be three or four new  "fauna visitors to the park."

People walking through the park can expect more lights around the ponds, playgrounds and Papilion, Ewing said. 

"We have the main parking lot down by the Papilion as you get down toward the bottom of the hill by the lake," he said. "You can park, and there is a lighted walkway down by the lake. You can walk there and you can walk to the gift shop. They have refreshments and everything."

Another difference this year is how well Garden-goers will hear the music, Ewing said.

"We have improved our radio," he said. "We have an FM transmitter. Our particular band for Garden of Lights is 105.9. We have what we call our animators, and we take these songs and we have an animation program. That is how we make all the lights move and do everything with the music. We take the audio output from the animators and put it into the radio."

Hayrides will be offered by appointment Thursdays through Sundays. Cost is $75. Ewing said he advises limiting the number of riders to 20 people or fewer. 

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