Blackfalds ready to flip switch on Christmas season with Light Up Blackfalds

Ethan Oickle, 2, pokes his head between the bars of the Town of Blackfalds’ pixel tree addition to their annual Tayles Park Christmas lights display during Light Up Blackfalds last year. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Town of Blackfalds is ready to flick the switch on the holiday season.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, all are invited to join the town outside the Civic and Cultural Centre at Tayles Water Spray Park as they “Light Up Blackfalds” for the eleventh straight year with one of the best displays Central Alberta has to offer.

“This event should be a must-see on everyone’s calendar,” said Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole. “The work and imagination that goes into this event is a source of pride and enjoyment and has become a major draw for visitors from in and around the community to come out and see the lights.”

Arielle Bingley, 2, (front) passes through a tunnel of lights in Tayles Park during last years Light Up Blackfalds event. The tunnel is a favourite amongst children. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

For the first time ever, entertainment will actually begin in the afternoon. The free-to-attend event will begin at 4 p.m. with a Dancer’s Edge performance, followed by Christmas carols sung by the Iron Ridge Junior Campus Choir.

A short speech by the event sponsor, Stantec, and Recreation, Culture and Parks Board Chair will also be given right before the countdown to the lighting of the lights around 5:30 p.m.

New to the event this year will be games provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe and District and the Dual Ice Development Society (D.I.D.S.), as well as giveaways by Stantec. A few Blackfalds Market vendors will also be on site. Hot chocolate will be served by donation.

As for the light display itself, Blackfalds Parks Superintendent Shaun Knowles is once again behind the display and the programming and synchronizing of the light display. Using Lightorama software, the park won’t just be lit up – it will literally dance before attendees eyes.

Shaun Knowles and Karen Saunders fluff up a tree in the park in preparation for last years Light Up Blackfalds event. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

The process of setting the lights up began in October, and last year, Knowles told the Lacombe Globe parks staff tries to get to setting up the big trees while nicer weather is on their side and they’re able to work with warm light cords that are easier to wrap. Over 54,000 bulbs and 771 strands of lights – approximately 3,800 feet or 1.15 km of cord – lit up the park in 2017, and the goal is always to change things up or add every year.

With all of the work that goes into assembling the display, it won’t be the only time residents and visitors can check out the display – lights will turn on around 5 p.m. nightly and will stay on until early January.

Attendees and Blackfalds residents, however, should also note that due to Light Up Blackfalds, Gregg St. between East Ave. and Broadway Ave. will be closed from 12 p.m. until after the event. Attendees are asked to park at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena, downtown or in nearby neighbourhoods.