By Melissa Shaw

For the first time, The Coaster Capital of New England has turned into The Christmas Capital of New England.

While the park previously closed for the season after its popular October-long Fright Fest, Six Flags New England has now extended its year, adding Holiday in the Park on select dates through Jan. 1.

While Holiday in the Park has been a staple at other Six Flags locations for several years, this is its inaugural run at Six Flags New England, an event which park officials said was two years in the making.

Jennifer McGrath, communications manager, said staff began stringing lights for the event in June, "and we stopped counting when we hit 1 million."

They may have stopped counting how many lights hang throughout the property, but they didn't stop stringing them, which is evident when you walk around. Every inch is covered in lights, garland, and decorations -- and scents, such as peppermint, holiday cookies, and Blue Spruce, are even piped into different areas.

Weekend hours begin at 2 p.m., which allows for daytime fun, but the event really takes off when the sun goes down and the lights come up, transforming the property into a stunning holiday landscape. Temperatures, as expected, drop at night, too, but heaters throughout the part help allay the chill (or you can always step inside a shop or restaurant). Holiday S'Mores Pits found in several areas can warm up -- and fill up -- guests, as well.

Sections of the park have been closed for the season, shrinking the park in size and rides offered (one-day ticket prices are also smaller, $39.99 -- 40% cheaper than regular admission). There are still more than 50 rides, attractions, and shows offered, which means there is plenty to do for everyone. Many of the additions are specific to the season, like shows "Frost - A Holiday Cirque Spectacular" and "Mrs. Claus' Christmas Eve," and holiday characters who roam the midways, posing with guests and providing great photo opportunities. And if it's not snowing throughout the park, it will every 30 minutes in Kringle Lane.

Families looking for a fun holiday tradition should point the car toward Six Flags New England. Whether you want to simply stroll and look at a million+ twinkling lights, see a show, hop a ride, or toast a s'more, Holiday in the Park is a place where all ages can celebrate the season and enjoy time as a family. Whether you're a season pass pro or a first-timer, Six Flags' Holiday in the Park lineup is worth the trip.