Ladysmith lights up this Thursday

The Ladysmith Festival of Lights celebrates its 25th anniversary with surprises and shimmering lights during Light Up this Thursday.

It’s that time of year again when Ladysmith’s main street is filled with sparkling lights, floats, clowns and crowds of people who gather to celebrate the Christmas season.

It’s Light Up on Thursday, and this year’s event features many surprises as the Festival of Lights celebrates its 25th anniversary.

In the days leading up to Light Up, volunteers have been busy getting ready for the main event.

“This next few days, we’re just touching up,” said Cliff Fisher, president of the Festival of Lights Society. “Of course, the boys are out there making sure the Santa switch works and the lights will come on. It’s just our last-minute checklist. We’re in good shape, and it looks like we should have a really nice show.”

The town has already received one of its 25th-anniversary surprises — a new decoration at the roundabout that features a big present with shooting stars.

“It’s a gorgeous decoration,” said Fisher, adding it took six people to set it up. “It certainly surprises a lot of people going down there, and I can’t wait to see it lit up. It will be a surprise to most of us.”

Fisher is also promising surprises on the main stage and a surprise in the fireworks package.

The Festival of Lights Society is still looking for volunteers who can help out on Thursday. Fisher says they would love some help on the streets from 3-6 p.m. to sell glow wands, and they could also use some help with crowd control during Light Up and with take down at the end of the night.

“The barrier people get to see the parade with no one in front of them,” noted Fisher. “That’s always a great spot.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering can call the Festival of Lights office at 250-245-5888.

Fisher believes this year’s parade has more than 60 entries, and he says several floats are very long.

“[The Kinsmen] had a really great success,” he said. “That’s probably as many, if not more, than last year. That’s remarkable considering Nanaimo had to cancel their parade.”

The fun starts at 3 p.m. with the Community Spaghetti Dinner at the Eagles Hall and the Christmas Craft Fair at Aggie Hall and continues right until the final firework goes off.

There is street entertainment and food concessions along First Avenue and entertainment on two stages downtown and at Aggie Hall from 4-6:15 p.m. Santa arrives to light up the town at 6:30 p.m., the Kinsmen parade starts at 6:45 p.m., and the fireworks display presented by Ladysmith and District Credit Union starts after the parade at Aggie Hall.

Fisher is getting excited for this milestone event.

“I just hope everybody comes out and enjoys it,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community this year, and we wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on seeing what we were able to produce.”

For more information, see our special 25th-anniversary Festival of Lights magazine in today’s paper.