Posted on December 16, 2015 by Andrea Six
Disney World isn’t the only one to project a magical light show on a magnificent building when the sun goes down. This 2015 holiday season, The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa will have their own bit of magic when the animated, holiday-themed light show is projected on the entire south side of the building facing the Savannah River, during their “Holiday Series” from 6-8 p.m., Friday, December 18 through Sunday, December 20.
“We wanted to do something that’s never been done before,” said Megan Hunt, the special events manager at the Westin.
Instead of doing their annual drive thru Festival of Lights, the Westin and Savannah Harbor Foundation teamed up with Stage Front Presentation Systems to create two magical animated light shows to present during the Holiday Series at the Westin, which not only includes an International Festival showcasing what the holidays are like around the world, but also all kinds of holiday activities and sights, including Santa’s Workshop and a gingerbread village filled with all kinds of gingerbread homes, buildings and castles. Admission to the Holiday Series, which includes the light show, International Festival and all the activities around the Westin, is $10 December 18-20 and $5 the following nights leading up to Christmas.
“We want this to be the start of tradition,” said Hunt.
Drawing inspiration from the light show at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Arizona, Stage Front’s team of two in New York created two separate animated videos designed specifically for the three-dimensional architectural structure of the Westin, videos that will make the Westin appear as if it is being transformed into a magical holiday-themed wonderland. Using four projectors mounted on scaffolding, Stage Front will present these animated light shows on the entire south side of the Westin building, which faces Downtown Savannah throughout the weekend.
“You’ll absolutely be able to see if from River Street,” said Paul Mazo, the project manager in the production department at Stage Front. “We took one projector over the other night for a test and everyone went ballistic!”
On Friday night, the real fun will kick off with the first light show starting at 6 p.m., which is more geared towards children – full of gingerbread houses and candy canes. The two-and-a-half-minute show will be presented every 30 minutes, with the final screening at 8 p.m. On Saturday, a different light show will play on the same schedule. This second show geared towards an older audience is about the reason for the season and more sentimental than the children’s show on Friday. Now, if you want to catch both shows, then you’ll want to head over to the Westin on Sunday, when they’re screening both shows at the same times throughout the night.
“Hopefully we can make Savannah a destination in the winter and people have this fun event to come to,” said Mazo.
Along with the show, there will be all kinds of fun holiday activities to partake in, including a holiday story time with the “Ice Queen” at 8 p.m., an “Ice Bar” where kids can get hot chocolate and a s’mores kit so they can roast marshmallows over the fire. And amid the amazing array of gingerbread houses from their annual Gingerbread House Competition, families will find Santa in his “workshop” at the Westin from 6:15-8 p.m.
“People have the chance to get a picture with Santa just like they would at the mall, but without their prices,” said Hunt.
In addition to the light show and all these activities, there will be all kinds of foods to try with the International Festival on Friday and Saturday and the Italian Christmas Festival on Sunday. Edible delights from Norway, Italy, France, England, Germany and Greece will be at different stations around the Westin along with tasty drinks.
But it isn’t just about this exciting new show or all of the activities that people can join in on; the whole reason this event is so huge is that it’s bringing together the community and raising funds for charities. This year, all of the proceeds will go to local children’s charity partners, with a portion of each night’s proceeds going directly to the featured charity.
“We wanted to do this to bring Savannah together for the holidays and to raise money for children’s charities,” said Hunt. “We want this to be the start of a tradition.”