(Back Row L-R) Lodge on 4th building maintenance Roy McKee, site leader Tracey McKee, resident Ralph Carlson, office manager Janet Gray. (Front Row L-R) Residents Wilma Ostle and Kay Rozzano, recreation coordinator Angelina Passarelli all pose in front of the bus decorated for the Festival of Lights parade.

(Back Row L-R) Lodge on 4th building maintenance Roy McKee, site leader Tracey McKee, resident Ralph Carlson, office manager Janet Gray. (Front Row L-R) Residents Wilma Ostle and Kay Rozzano, recreation coordinator Angelina Passarelli all pose in front of the bus decorated for the Festival of Lights parade.

Lodge on 4th seniors set to make new Ladysmith Festival of Lights memories

Lodge on 4th residents, staff, volunteers and families are in the FOL parade for the first time.

Residents of Lodge on 4th have so many cherished Festival of Lights memories from the past three decades but are now set to make new ones as they participate in the parade for the first time ever on Thursday.

Seniors, staff, volunteers and families will accompany a bus decorated with LED Christmas lights in the number 11 spot all the way down First Ave, waving to the thousands of spectators.

“All of our kids are coming too and we’re going to be rocking it out there,” said Tracey McKee, the site leader at the care home.

Ralph Carlson, 75, Wilma Ostle, 91, and Kay Rozzano, 97, shared their early memories of Light Up with the Chronicle a day before big event.

Rozanna remembers being introduced to the founder of FOL Bill Fitzpatrick by Chuck Perrin, another integral figure in getting things going in the early years.

“I remember the year we had a total blackout,” Rozanno said. “It was a blackout from Nanaimo to Chemainus…everything was dark and the the hydro guys worked for two hours and at six o’clock we got our lights on just in Ladysmith.”

With the promise of a meal prior to the event, “bus loads of people” would flock to town, said Ostle.

“There use to be ten or twelve buses that would come all the time and they’d park out all along the front of the Eagles (Hall) and they’d have spaghetti supper and then walk back out to watch,” added Carlson.

Others visitors who came by car could take a park-and-ride service.

“You’d park your car down at Transfer Beach and then they’d have a mini bus and they drove you up to town. You could give them two dollars but it was all by donations,” Rozzano said, adding that one of her favourite things was always “walking down the street with popcorn.”

The parade in the early days was populated with organizations such as the Kinsmen, Native Daughters and Health Care Auxiliary among others.

It was also less than half of the size, with 75 floats set to take part in Thursday’s parade.

And while LEDs are becoming the new standard, things weren’t always so energy efficient.

“They were the big old outdoor lights so if you did your whole building when you turned them on all at once you should have seen the old power metre going around,”said Carlson.

Ostle’s husband was a volunteer firefighter in Ladysmith and did the heavy lifting over the years with getting the lights into the trees. She in turn volunteered with the spaghetti dinner.

“Light Up was always a big thing,” she said. “I remember one year Santa was up on top of the Wigwam and just before he threw the switch it started to snow and it was really neat.”

Now, Ostle is excited to be seeing the parade from a new vantage point.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all my family standing there on the side of the road,” she said. “Some of them will be walking along with (the bus) too.”

Following the parade, everyone will make their back up to Lodge on 4th for hot chocolate as they watch the big finale from what might be the best view in town.

“We’ve got a perfect view for the fireworks afterwards on the fourth floor where they reside so they can just go look out the windows and watch them all go off,” McKee said.

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

Most Read