Holiday tradition in Westchester drawing crowds - but with a big adjustment

VALHALLA, New York (WABC) -- A holiday tradition in Westchester County is drawing crowds eager for some holiday cheer - with a big adjustment.

With the twinkling tree lit up, the holiday display at the Kenisco Dam is ready for visitors, but this year they're not walking through the winter wonderland, they're driving through.

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For the first time ever, Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey will offer a holiday lights drive-through.

"It's really safe for people to come to. The only time you actually interact with someone is when you present your ticket," said Westchester Parks Foundation Executive Director Joe Stout.

It is not the carnival-like event of the past. The rides and skating and food vendors are gone. Instead, it is a visual treat, and folks craving holiday cheer will take it.

"It's nice to escape every once in a while, from the reality of what's going on," said Westchester resident Margaret Cucinell.

The drive-thru has more than a mile of light displays and little winter vignettes. It incorporates the county September 11th memorial flanked by angels.

The Westchester Parks Foundation decided that doing without holiday visitors this year just didn't seem right.

"To have something fun and safe to do was really high on the agenda, so we all said we'll figure it out," added Stout.

Some of the season's favorite characters are spreading joy from a safe distance - delighting children and adults.

At the end of the ride, it's the man of the hour - a very authentic Santa Claus, as visitors drive out of the park and into the holiday season.

Since everyone is driving this year, Santa upgraded from a sleigh to a vintage Cadillac.

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