Reynold’s Farm Equipment is celebrating their 25th year of hosting an incredible, free Christmas lights display. This family-owned business has a history of finding creative ways to decorate and celebrate—from decorating the old John Deere “D” tractor to their long-standing lights display. As grandson Michael Lawson describes his family’s tradition: “To know our late- Grandparents (and parents), “Mac” & Arline Reynolds, you can’t begin to ever imagine how much that those two truly loved Christmas. And for more reasons that probably even I would ever begin to know. And with it, the Christmas lights as well. In fact, Grandma would be so nuts about the display, that even when she’d stop into the store in the middle of summer, she’d ask “now, we’re still doing the Christmas lights, aren’t we?” Of course she knew; she just wanted to make sure that WE knew it too.”
This holiday event, which sits nestled in a veritable winter wonderland of themed events and experiences throughout the greater Indianapolis area, was one of the most calming and enjoyable holiday encounters I’ve had in decades. I packed my nerd herd in the minivan after dinner on a Friday night. At ages four and five, they were already feeling pretty dang merry because they were going out to see Christmas lights. At a farm equipment store. Armed with hot cocoa. We had hit the trifecta of goals for their perfect evening. We arrived at 126st and Reynolds Drive at 6pm and drove in with no traffic. Two police cars were standing by, ready for what I assumed would be a massive influx of visitors as soon as everyone else finished up their dinners (or were getting in their cars to head out to dinner. Mazel tov if you get to go to eat dinner after 5pm. That’s my personal 10-year goal.)
As we pulled in, I cranked up a Christmas playlist that I painstakingly put together in an attempt to mash all of our favorites from Pentatonix (theirs) to Diana Krall (mine). It was at this moment that I realized this Christmas lights display really is pure magic. There’s no rush to buy tickets and line up for an event, no fights over how cold it is, no complaints over a long line, no begging to get a toy or more treats, no spending money left and right. Nothing. Just beautiful Christmas displays. The effort the family and their employees make is nothing short of outstanding. There are sports displays, the Grinch, tons of farm equipment, trees galore, religious displays, even a running train. Seeing my kid’s face light up when he saw equipment dressed up like reindeer being pulled by Santa on a Gator made my holiday season. I hit peak-levels of mushy mixed with nostalgia on this drive and was at the point in the holiday season where I really needed it.
The circuit is laid out extremely well. It accommodates a solid amount of traffic while making sure that you are able to get a good view from wherever you are in the line. My kids stayed in their seats the whole time, but have decided we have to go back in case they missed anything on the other side. This is definitely a display that I suggest visiting more than once. If not to make sure you see every single piece of decoration, but as a way to take a relaxing break from the rest of the holiday hustle. One of the best things about it, beyond the fact that it’s free and open every evening, is the ability to individualize the experience based on your family. You can go any night between 5pm and 9pm (sometimes even later), so you can work around your schedule. We have some food allergies in our herd, so I was able to make treats and hot cocoa and feel relieved that kids wouldn’t feel disappointed that they were missing out on food stand treats they couldn’t have. The kids were not in their pajamas, but that is totally acceptable because you have the luxury of staying in your own car! Also, music. Not having to deal with canned elevator Christmas music or the same tracks played over and over again at the malls was pure bliss. We listened to what we wanted and there were no kid issues. Even if we had an issue and I had a screaming kid on my hands, they were buckled in a car seat and I wouldn’t have to pick up a screaming child and drag them out of a public space (we have all been there).
The whole circuit is about a fifteen-minute experience, so it isn’t going to take a chunk out of your evening. It would be a great start to your evening or end, or even middle. It’s just that flexible and entertaining. As I drove towards the end of the circuit I could see people holding tubs and flyers. I assumed it was a suggested donation to help them pay for the lights. I would have been more than happy to help subsidize what I can only imagine is a fairly high electricity bill. Nope—it was a collection for the Come to Me Food Pantry. This food pantry serves Hamilton County residents and is run through the Fishers United Methodist Church. If you are interested in supporting this collection, be sure to have some cash on you when you decide to visit. If you’d like to contribute food items, they are also accepting non-perishable donations at the church (9691 East 116th Street) inside door 4.
The Reynolds Farm Equipment Christmas Lights Display has officially earned a spot on our holiday traditions list. It is definitely worth a trip to Fishers and its appeal for all age groups makes it something worth adding to your list this season. Grab some cocoa or hot cider, pop some popcorn, grab sugar cookies, and head over. I’m sure my nerd herd will wake up and ask to go again, and again, and honestly, I cannot find one reason not to say yes.
Reynolds is located off State Road 37. You won’t miss it! Just look for the giant Abominable Snowman! The lights at Reynolds are on 24/7 during the holiday season through January 1. Rain, snow, or shine – the lights stay on. Drive through hours are 5:00pm-9:00pm every night except Christmas.
Sarah Lewis is a Ravenclaw. She is also a former project manager, life-long writer, substitute teacher, baker, and Head Nerd (or Mom) to The Nerd Herd. She has a Master’s in Cultural Studies and has published essays on topics as diverse as psychological thriller cinema and the celebrity gossip industry. Her history in research and project management swirls together to make her a meticulous day trip and vacation planner (picture Leslie Knope and Hermione Granger joining forces).