Is Vail’s Magic of Lights going dark?

If there’s another season, it will have a new name

Bodie Bancker, 3, of Edwards and Fisher Seyferth, 2, of Edwards stroll through the Magic of Lights holding their hot drinks Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 in Vail. Vail’s Magic of Lights may not return for a third season. If it does, it will have a new name, among other changes.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The first two seasons of Magic of Lights in Vail were pretty popular. But the event may not be popular enough to continue.

The Vail Valley Foundation in 2020 first proposed the multi-night tour through lighted displays at Ford Park as an outdoor event that could draw people to Vail despite COVID-19 restrictions. The event returned in 2021 with an expanded schedule.

But a third season is in question. Vail Valley Foundation President Mike Imhof at the Vail Town Council’s April 5 meeting said that the Foundation has ended its partnership with Fun Guys Events, the partner for the first two seasons of the event.

In a letter to Vail Town Manager Scott Robson, Imhof wrote that the Foundation’s intent is to operate Magic of Lights for a third season and beyond. But, the letter states, that can’t happen without increased funding from both the town of Vail and Vail Mountain.

Robson said the first two seasons of Magic of Lights “may not be executable” in coming years

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Imhof told council members that the event would have a new name, perhaps some new features and could expand into portions of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

The letter requested town funding be increased to $125,000 per year.

Mayor Kim Langmaid said that request doesn’t sound financially viable, and wondered if the light displays could be integrated into Vail Village.

But Council member Jen Mason said it might not be possible to have a ticketed event that includes portion of Vail Village.

Imhof noted that eliminating Magic of Lights would require the Foundation to sell off some of the infrastructure. Imhoff added that Fun Guys Events would want some, but not all of the displays.

Council member Kevin Foley noted that the town did make a three-year commitment to the project, adding “it’s a great family event.”

Foley encouraged town and Foundation officials to find a way to salvage at least some of Magic of Lights in a form that’s cost-effective for the parties.

Langmaid acknowledged that “there’s some magic to those lights,” adding that the town and Foundation should try to figure out a scenario for future use.

Foundation officials will return at the council’s April 19 meeting with a proposal to keep the early-season lights lit.

By the numbers

45: Nights of operation for the 2021-22 Magic of Lights

21,966: People attended

66%: Attendees who came to Vail specifically for the event.

2,174: Room nights booked due to Magic of Lights.

Source: Vail Valley Foundation

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