Apr 28, 2023 - Things to Do

Stone Mountain ends classic laser show after 40 years

Stone Mountain laser show

Stone Mountain Park's Laser Show Spectacular will come to an end. Photo: Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park's Laser Show Spectacular, the decades-long evening event that projects light beams onto carvings of Confederate leaders, says goodbye this weekend. Kind of.

Why it matters: The show, which uses the mountain’s controversial carving of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as its backdrop, ends its 40-year run on Saturday.

  • It has attracted millions of people over the years, said Jehan Williams, senior manager of communications and digital marketing at Stone Mountain Park.

Yes, but: Segments of the show trumpeted the Deep South and Civil War, with Elvis Presley renditions of "Dixie" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and an animation bringing the carvings to life.

What's next: The first-ever Summer Light Show, set to debut during Memorial Day weekend, will take its place.

  • Stone Mountain officials aren't offering specifics, but they say the new show will use updated technology to produce more lasers, fireworks and a drone show, according to a press release.
  • It remains unclear to what degree the show's content will be changed — and Stone Mountain Park says on its website that the classic iteration "will remain part of the catalog of light shows and reappear periodically."

The backdrop: The new show will roll out amid a yearslong push by some lawmakers, residents, visitors and activists to strip the park of its Confederate memorial designation and recognize its racist history, including as the site of the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • A bill introduced in the state House would scrap requirements that the board preserve the mountain's carvings and sell Confederate memorabilia.
  • $11 million has been allocated in the state’s budget for a museum at the park that would provide more context about Stone Mountain’s past, according to the AJC.

If you want to go: The show will kick off at 9pm and tickets can be purchased online.

We want to know: Have you ever been to the classic laser show?


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