DISCLOSURE: This photo report, while not a full-fledged review, does contain my own opinion and perspective. I paid for my tickets for the event. Six Flags Great America did not grant me any special access. 

The COVID-19 pandemic meant Six Flags Great America couldn’t fully reopen in 2020, but the Gurnee, Illinois park did its best to compensate with two ride-less holiday events. 

Due to a surge of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, I initially elected to stay away from Great America’s Holiday in the Parks Light event. I did visit the first night of the park’s drive-thru event — you can read that full review here — and with Illinois sparing itself a post-Thanksgiving COVID surge, I felt safe enough to visit the walk-around event during its final days.

This won’t be a review; I didn’t experience enough of the event’s stage shows to review it properly, and with the event nearly over, a review wouldn’t be much use anyway. And I’m certain every reader is hoping a scaled-back event like this isn’t necessary in 2021. 

Like the drive-thru event, I was happy enough to be back inside a theme park in any capacity — and feeling very safe, considering the low crowds and excellent mask enforcement by Great America staff. Here are some of the choice photos the Theme Park Tribune staff took along our journey. 

Six Flags Great America holidays

Six Flags Great America holidays

There was no obvious construction taking place within the park. I initially thought that Whirligig, the swing ride in Yankee Harbor, may have been removed, but Six Flags Great America spokesperson Caitlin Kepple said the attraction is simply in its “winterized state for general off-season maintenance.”

Six Flags Great America holidays

Whirligig opened with Great America in 1976

The park’s 2021 addition will be the Tsunami Surge water coaster in nearby Hurricane Harbor, which was closed off for the holiday event.

Thanks to Six Flags Great America for injecting a little bit of light into this dark year and giving guests a chance to get inside the park in a safe manner. Here’s hoping that 2021 brings a full reopening.

All photos taken by Theme Park Tribune. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article speculated that Whirligig may have been in the process of being removed. Six Flags Great America has since told Theme Park Tribune that the ride is in its winterized state for off-season maintenance. We apologize for the error. 

More Theme Park News:
REVIEW: Holiday In The Park Drive-Thru Experience at Six Flags Great America
California theme park reopening campaign silenced by COVID-19 surge
Fun Spot America owner downplayed COVID-19 safety concerns: ‘I have no fear of this virus’