In 2008, two Canadian teenagers helped neighbors put up their outdoor Christmas lights.
Kevin Johnston and Cam Walker, best friends from Vancouver, British Columbia, were glad to bring some holiday cheer to the folks next door. Lots of the neighbors took notice of their creatively displayed lights, and overnight the guys were in business! The following Christmas season, with a borrowed truck they distributed “Light ‘Em Up” flyers around Vancouver neighborhoods. The pair decorated house after house, climbing huge trees, and putting up thousands of lights. The ‘Light ‘em Up” reputation grew, and so did their client list – major malls, community gardens, ski resorts – the projects got bigger, and their future seemed, well, bright!
But no one could have predicted what happened next…. In just a few years Cam decided to leave the lighting business and move into real estate. Still best friends, it was during a dinner with their wives in 2014 that Cam’s wife Nicole mentioned something about a light maze. A light maze?? Hmmm, that is a cool concept. Ever the creative engineer, Kevin immediately started work on his first ever maze prototype — a fence design made out of string lights and packaging from a stereo system.
The ENCHANT concept was born. A holiday themed outdoor light “maze adventure” that guests could enjoy with family and friends! To pull off such a massive project, Kevin assembled a group of close friends and talented professionals from around the world – the best designers, production, and technical experts he could locate. Two years of planning and development later ENCHANT came to life right in the heart of the city of Vancouver, B.C. in 2016. And boy, was it successful!
Despite torrential winter rain, freezing temperatures, and a city inspector who earned his nickname “Scrooge”, the first ever ENCHANT drew thousands of folks; in fact, so many people came to see those amazing lights that traffic jammed the city – Vancouver simply could not easily accommodate that much Christmas spirit. It was time to move ENCHANT south across the border to U.S. cities.
The search for a huge location with built-in infrastructure like parking, power, and open space landed ENCHANT right on the field of the Texas Rangers baseball stadium in historic Arlington, Texas – site of the very first U.S. ENCHANT location. By then Kevin had refined and expanded the concept for ENCHANT beyond those first rainy nights in Vancouver. His wife Leanne wrote a holiday themed interactive storyline, “The Great Search,” so guests would follow through the lighted maze in search of Santa’s bigger-than-life size reindeer, an ice-skating rink was incorporated, along with an ENCHANT “Village” full of local artisans and specialty foods. Success was Texas-sized! Over 250,000 guests visited ENCHANT!
Calls rolled in from the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, and the Tampa Bay Rays! Word was out in the baseball world that a young entrepreneur from Vancouver had an event that could fill their venue in the off season with hundreds of thousands of people, drive business for independent small vendor businesses, and employ hundreds of locals in their community. ENCHANT was on its way.
Since that first event in 2016 we have produced ENCHANT in major U.S. cities and hosted over 3 million guests during the holidays. Sure, in 2020 we had to cancel our plans like everyone else- but we pivoted and came roaring back in 2021 with ENCHANT landing in Dallas, D.C., St. Petersburg, and Las Vegas. We literally doubled down on 2022 to bring this incredible event to twice as many U.S locations, to hire twice as many fulltime staff to make it happen, and hosted twice as many guests making their own magical memories this holiday season. In 2023, with 7 locations, we are a company on the move, with a visionary Founder and a talented group of leaders and staff now working remotely around the world. With stats like that, we have earned our industry reputation as the fastest growing live entertainment concept in North America. The lights are on at ENCHANT!