Inside the world’s largest Christmas light maze

Media Credit: Jack Borowiak | Staff Photographer

The Enchant light maze will set up in Nationals Park until the end of December.

Not a month after the Washington Nationals notched a historic World Series win, the baseball stadium has transformed into the world’s largest Christmas light maze and holiday market.

Enchant is a park lit up with more than 3.5 million lights and includes a holiday market, an ice skating rink and a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree. Once visitors enter the maze, they can navigate their way out of the area or spend time ice skating and visiting more than 20 local vendors selling holiday treats.

The first Enchant light maze was constructed in Vancouver in 2016. Since then, the maze has grown in magnitude, adding venues in Seattle and St. Petersburg, Fla. in addition to the D.C. location. In the District, the maze is projected to attract more than 300,000 guests between its opening day on Nov. 22 and Dec. 29.

Jordan Birch, Enchant’s director of business development, said each year the maze and the ice skating rink inside the maze is built around a story or thematic idea. This year, the space is built around the story that Santa’s nine reindeer have all gone missing, and it is up to the visitor to go on a scavenger hunt and find each of the reindeer scattered throughout the maze.

Jack Borowiak | Staff Photographer

“The reason we do it as a scavenger hunt is it allows people to explore the entire area and immerse in the light and the experience,” Birch said. “Everything we do here is aimed to create magical memories, and we’re really excited that we’re going to bring that to D.C. folks.”

The maze receives a brand new design every year. Birch said Enchant hires all local staff to construct the spectacle, which takes 21 days to build.

“The great thing about what we do is every single piece in here is designed by our team,” he said. “There’s nothing you can buy off the shelf. Everything is very unique, and that’s the experience we create.”

Kenneth Hernandez, a carpenter for Enchant, said at least 100 workers spent time constructing the light maze at a time. He said the construction team brought in materials like the Christmas tree and set up the ice skating rink by hand in below-freezing temperatures.

Jack Borowiak | Staff Photographer

“The weather made setting up the tree difficult,” he said. “Each branch is an individual piece that needs to be attached.”

Visitors can also stop at more than two dozen local vendors like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Founding Spirits. Customers can purchase goods ranging from Schokolat chocolates and Pearl Fine Teas to antiques from Far East Antiques.

Birch said he hopes including the vendors will help “reflect the community” at which the event takes place.

“It’s really important for us to create a D.C. event, not an event in D.C.,” he said. “For us what that looks like is local artisans, local vendors who are from the area, providing their product, giving them a platform to sell and to reach these 300,000 plus people we’re bringing in.”

Birch said Enchant’s Christmas light mazes have all been set up at Major League Baseball stadiums. The field’s drastic transformation during the holiday season intrigues people who would typically only visit to watch a game, he said.

“It’s known everywhere far and wide around the cities where the ballparks are, and they are iconic buildings,” Birch said. “We’re able to transform these spaces and create something brand new that people have never experienced before. So when they come in Enchant, they’re going to see the ballpark in an entirely different way.”

Attendee Jessica Estepa said the inside of Enchant is a spectacle someone might expect in a movie. She said she was interested in visiting the attraction on opening night because she loves both Christmas and baseball, and the maze is located close to her home.

“I really love Christmas, and this is fantastic,” she said. “I also really love baseball, so this is everything I love in one big thing.”

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