Festival of Lights has been popular Summerland tradition

Launch of festive season started more than three decades ago

For more than three decades, Summerland has welcomed the festive season with the annual Festival of Lights.

“The Festival of Lights was conceived 32 years ago by four Summerland businessmen, Jerry Hallquist, Art Sewell, Allan Fabbi and myself under the umbrella of the Downtown Business Improvement Area,” said Bruce Hallquist. “At the time, it was the only festival of its kind in the Okanagan”.

Current Mayor Toni Boot remembers the early days of the festival.

“Having grown up in Summerland, then returning to raise my two sons, I have attended many Festival of Lights celebrations,” she said. “Some festivals have seen bone-chilling temperatures, while others have enjoyed relatively mild weather. For me, a light snow always adds an extra touch of magical perfection to the event.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Summerland marks holiday season with 31st annual Festival of Lights

READ ALSO: Summerland holds multiple events to launch festive season

From the start, the festival was popular.

“Festival of Lights was an instant success with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people in attendance for the first event”, Hallquist said. “It continues to thrive today and is not only a premier holiday event for Summerland, but for the entire Okanagan.”

To get the event started the inaugural Festival of Lights committee sold strings of Christmas lights to every merchant and building owner in the downtown area.

Approximately 25,000 lights were sold that first year.

The District of Summerland became involved and decorated the light standards on the streets and other public buildings in the downtown area.

The Festival of Lights now has many events spanning several weeks.

The Light Up Summerland downtown event, on Nov. 29, is the largest single-day festival in the Okanagan with 12,000 to 14,000 people expected to attend.

The Summerland Chamber of Commerce produces the event for the District of Summerland.

“I could not believe the size and scope of the event,” said David Hull, executive director of the chamber.

“Last year was my first Light Up event and I was blown away! It is really a magical event that brings not only Summerland folks together but also our neighbours from up and down the valley. The atmosphere is so positive and vibrant.”

Additional information on Light Up Summerland and other Festival of Lights events can be found at summerlandlightup.com and on the Summerland Festival of Lights Facebook page.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

UBC Okanagan to host Festival of Ideas with BC’s lieutenant governor

The inaugural event will feature a panel discussion with Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Meet Softy a five-year-old Himalayan cat available for adoption

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Kelowna divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

“People are being injured and lives are being lost on this stretch of highway.” - MLA Dan Ashton

Most Read