Get holly jolly with the City of Lacombe as the Light Up the Night festival returns Nov. 28-Dec. 2.
Back for an eighth year, one of Central Alberta’s lengthiest and most extensive holiday festivals promises to help even the Grinchiest and most bah humbug members of the community get in the Christmas spirit with five straight days of festive fun for the family.
“It gets bigger and better every year, and this year is absolutely no different,” said City of Lacombe Community and Economic Development Manager Guy Lapointe.
“We always try to add a few things that augment the festival itself, but we also try to make the things that are working for us bigger and better and there are definitely some new attractions people should keep their eyes out for.”
As usual, the Singing Swinging Christmas concert featuring Flatiron Jazz will officially kick things off, but the main festivities will get underway on Thursday, Nov. 29.
The big attraction is the Tim Hortons Santa Claus Parade at 6 p.m. Lapointe says the desire to participate in the parade is up this year, so there will definitely be some new sights to see. Chief among them will be a giant inflatable Rudolph, whose red nose will light Santa’s way through the streets of Lacombe.
The parade is becoming big enough, too, to be streamed for a second straight year so that even those who aren’t on the streets of Lacombe can be there in spirit. Together with Caleb Cameron’s Lovethics Films, Jo(e) Social Media will broadcast the event live from the parade route, likely with some colour commentary along the way.
The lighting of 60,000 lights in Lest We Forget Park will follow the parade around 6:45 p.m. and residents and visitors alike are invited to not only check out the lights, but ice sculptures in the park. Last year, weather put a damper on the ice sculptures, and they were instead set up during the Hometown Hockey event rather than during Light Up the Night.
“In the past, we’ve tried to do something fairly significant and because of the size and scale of the sculptures, they didn’t behave well in warm weather,” said Lapointe. “It’s always tricky, but we’re going to go for a more traditional (sculpture) where it’s more of a throne and a bit of festive display.”
Musical and entertainment performances will happen throughout the festival, including music in the Fireside Lounge from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Nov. 29, 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Homegrown Theatre will put on the first play in their new Trinity Lutheran Church home, and new to the event listings this year is the Burman University Choral Union Christmas Concert, “A Tale of Two Kings,” which will happen at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at the College Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Christmas carol sing-a-longs will be held by local churches throughout Light Up the Night.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas festival without plenty of shopping opportunities. Local businesses will take part in Midnight Madness with extended hours during the festival, and several different markets to choose from, including the Mingle and Jingle Market, Christmas Farmer’s Market, a book sale, and the 21st annual Christmas Faire, all held at the LMC.
A number of charity and non-profit fundraising events are planned, too, with Lacombe and District Historical Society selling Oodles of Chocolates hot chocolate sticks, Nowco Home Hardware providing a charity gift wrap station during Moonlight Madness on Nov. 29 with proceeds going towards Lacombe FCSS, and Beef on a Bun dinner at 5 p.m. with proceeds going towards Lacombe Victim Services.
The festivities won’t completely stop when the festival itself wraps up, either. Christmas lights will continue to be displayed throughout the community, the CP Train will visit the community on Sunday, Dec. 9, and the annual fireworks at Cranna Lake will dazzle on Friday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. as part of one last community event before Christmas.
“It’s really multi-levelled. Events attract people to the community and the hope is people will stick around and shop,” said Lapointe. “We’re excited to see everyone come out, and right now it looks like the weather’s going to hold up.”
Of course, there’s plenty more going on, too. For a full list of Light Up the Night festivities, visit www.lacombetourism.com/signature-events/light-up-the-night-lacombe and follow the Lacombe Globe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for coverage throughout the festival.