Just days before the 26th annual Festival of Lights gets underway, Cliff Fisher says he is surprised how calm everything is.
Fisher is the president of the Festival of Lights Society, and as the community gets ready for the big Light Up celebration this Thursday (Nov. 28), Fisher says things are going well, with just a few small fixes needed here and there before the big day.
“It’s going fine,” he said Monday. “I’m really surprised when it gets down to the wire and it’s calm.”
Volunteers will start putting up barriers and blocking off areas Wednesday night, and they’ve been going around town making sure all the lights work, and the extension cords are all fine.
“It’s really neat because we get lots of volunteers who help,” said Fisher. “Usually you have to rework a few things, and without all that help from the community, this would never happen — absolutely never happen.”
New this year, Fisher is excited that Skellig will be performing at the main stage. The band will take over for Fred Izon, who performed for more than a decade.
“We thank Fred very much for his contribution over the years,” said Fisher.
Another new piece this year will be parking control along Second Avenue. Festival of Lights Society volunteers and Ladysmith Fire/Rescue members will be notifying all Second Avenue residents living from Symonds Street to Strathcona Road to keep a fire lane open.
“We will restrict parking down there,” explained Fisher, who says they are very thankful the fire department jumped in and offered to help. “That street gets quite tight, with cars on both sides.”
The 26th annual Light Up celebration gets underway Thursday at 3 p.m. with the annual Community Spaghetti Dinner at the Eagles Hall. The Christmas Craft Fair at Aggie Hall also begins at that time, while street entertainment and food concessions get going at 4 p.m.
Entertainment downtown and in front of Aggie Hall goes from 4-6:15 p.m., and Santa arrives around 6:30 p.m. to light up our town.
The Kinsmen Parade will begin at 6:45 p.m. and travel along First Avenue to Aggie Hall, where the Chuck Perrin Christmas Tree will be lit, and the fireworks show presented by the Ladysmith and District Credit Union will begin.
First Avenue will be closed Thursday from approximately 3-10 p.m. for Light Up. Access to and from the Island Highway at Bob Stuart Park at the entrance to town will be closed from 5-10 p.m.
The Ladysmith Festival of Lights project initiated in 1987 when Bill Fitzpatrick and a couple of Ladysmith merchants agreed that new and more festive street decorations were needed to complement Ladysmith’s successful heritage/revitalization project. Light Up night now attracts up to 20,000 people.