A couple years ago, I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival in Reston, and I was certain it was the best holiday lights show I’d ever see. I was wrong. This year’s LightUp Fest in Ashburn is even better!

      You can see the festival from far away as you drive toward it. It’s impossible to miss, with massive light installations shaped like the Capitol Building, a Chinese temple, and an ice castle. As we approached it, I was getting as excited as my spellbound kids in the backseat.

      The LightUp Fest is a showcase of over 70 exhibits of Chinese lanterns and modern lighting technology. The sculptures are exquisite. There are also nightly performances of Chinese dancers and acrobats, as well as carnival rides, food, and crafts. I loved this entire experience, and couldn’t recommend it more highly. It’s a fantastic winter outing for any family, with no particular holiday affiliation. Take the kids, a date, and/or your camera, and see this festival light up the night with a spectacle of color.

      This was a sweet moment when Daniel was bravely facing the dinosaur, while Mike was comforting a frightened Katie.

      Here’s what Daniel was doing — fighting the dinosaur with a stick sword.

      Despite the dinosaurs, Katie gave the whole place a thumbs up. Understatement of the day… it was worth many more thumbs than that. All the thumbs.

      The LightUp Fest takes place until January 2, 2019 at One Loudoun in Ashbury, from 5:30-10:30pm.

      Related posts:

      The Chinese Lantern Festival might be the most beautiful holiday lights show you’ve ever seen

      Sparkling Christmas scenes at Reston Town Center and Lake Anne

      Silver Bells, Silver Bells, It’s Christmastime at Reston Town Center

      The Reston Holiday Parade: The best local way to kick off the holidays

      Publication: My photo of Jingle on Lake Anne is on the cover of Reston Connection

      I got to be Santa’s helper at Jingle on Lake Anne

      Interview: My favorite holiday event in Northern Virginia

      The Old Luckett’s Store is a charming Christmastime fantasy land

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.