Festival of Lights was started in 1987 by a group of citizens – including Bill Fitzpatrick, its main champion, as a way to celebrate the spirit of the season and support local shopping. Now it is 30 years later, and the annual Festival of Lights kicks off on Nov. 30.
“You can expect all your favourite events plus some extra surprises,” says president Duck Paterson.
New limited edition baseball caps and t-shirts, and a book “Light Up – The First 30 Years” will be released soon. “Watch for some new decorations, including one on top of the Royal Bank building, along with a couple of “parade” surprises”, says Duck, keeping them guarded.
And then there is Lance. “As Patti Cavers’ class at Ladysmith Intermediate School always helps with the lights at Market Square, we asked them to name the 30th Anniversary mascot, created by Tracy Paterson,” says Duck. From the 27 students, Lance the light bulb got the most votes. “Lance is appearing on our T-shirts this year which are for sale at Pharmasave, 49th Parallel Grocery and the Chamber of Commerce office for $20, with proceeds helping to fund Light Up.”
The fun starts at 3 pm with the Spaghetti Dinner at the Eagles Hall. The Christmas Craft Fair at Aggie Hall also opens at 3 pm. From 4 pm to 6:15 enjoy the street entertainment, food concessions and entertainment on two stages – in downtown Ladysmith and in front of the Aggie Hall where Ed Mulrooney along with Ted and Jeff Puska will be performing a song about Light Up for the first time. All this is gearing up for the big moment when Santa arrives downtown and throws the switch to light up Ladysmith at 6:30 pm. The Kinsmen night parade starts at 6:45 pm.
After the parade, head north on First Avenue and see the light up of Bob Stuart Park, the Aggie Hall and the breathtaking Chuck Perrin Christmas Tree, presented by the Nanaimo Airport Commission.The evening ends with a bang, a fireworks display sponsored by the Ladysmith & District Credit Union.
There will be shuttle buses from Transfer Beach and the churches at the north end of 4th Avenue. Dogs are not permitted downtown during Light Up. ladysmithfol.com
Fireworks Light Up. Photo: Rob Johnson