Aaron and Skylar O’Dell, owners of Jolt Lighting, set up nearly one mile of Christmas display lights at Swope Park. Photo KC Parks.
Christmas starts early with a new Winter Magic holiday lights display
By Jill Draper
If you’re looking for a fun, COVID-safe family outing, a Martin City entrepreneur has created just the thing—a new drive-thru display of holiday lights at Swope Park.
Named Winter Magic, the nearly-one-mile drive features the Midwest’s longest light tunnel, singing elves, spinning trees, flashing snowflakes and a special black light section of sugar plums. Two brothers, Aaron and Skylar O’Dell, designed this attraction that mixes old-fashioned themes with modern technology.
Their company, Jolt Lighting, is partnering with KC Parks and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the department’s summer camp scholarship fund.
Throughout October the brothers have been working seven days a week from the old mounted patrol barn on Oakwood Drive to install the display. “We’ve been swinging sledge hammers, operating boom lifts and pulling 5,000 pounds of cable through the woods. It feels like CrossFit,” says Aaron. “This is not the desk job we’re used to.”
An electronics engineer, Aaron started Jolt Lighting about five years ago in his Martin City garage before moving the business to a commercial facility in Grandview. His brother Skylar joined the company to handle sales and manage operations. They typically do custom work for Disney, Six Flags, Crayola, Worlds of Fun, Deanna Rose and various zoos, hotels and retail centers. But business fell flat during the pandemic.
“We’ve been selling displays to light parks across the nation and we’ve always talked about doing one of our own,” says Skylar. “We reached out to every parks department in the area and liked the central location of Swope Park.”
The brothers describe the 200-foot-long light tunnel as mind-blowing, hypnotizing and mesmerizing. “It’s like a video wall of LEDs with swirls and tie-dye effects,” says Aaron, who explains that each area of the holiday drive plays multiple songs that visitors can tune in on their car radios. They hope to attract some 25,000 vehicles in the next two months.
Aaron says the drive must be experienced in person. “Our audience has risen up with technology, and they expect a certain amount of performance. It just doesn’t really get old. You can’t do it justice on a video.”
Tickets start at $20 per vehicle and are sold only online at timed intervals. Reservations may be rescheduled within two weeks of purchase. The display is open daily from 6-11 p.m. November 2-14, and from 5-11 p.m. from November 15-January 2. Details are at wintermagickc.com. Tickets are 25% off if ordered before November.