Record number of floats take part in Ladysmith’s Light Up parade

It's estimated that 15,000 to 16,000 people came to Ladysmith Nov. 29 for the 25th anniversary of the Festival of Lights Light Up.

A paradegoer gets a great vantage point to watch the Kinsmen parade head down First Avenue in Ladysmith during the 25th-anniversary Festival of Lights Light Up event Nov. 29.

Crowds lined First Avenue for Light Up’s 25th anniversary Thursday night in spite of the cold and rain.

Old and young alike laughed, cheered and waved as they watched “70-plus” floats roll by, a record number for the Light Up parade, according to town councillor Duck Paterson.

Cliff Fisher, president of the Festival of Lights board of directors, said 15,000 to 16,000 people were lined up along the festival route by the time Santa dropped by to turn on the lights.

The festival draws between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors any given year, but Fisher was surprised by this year’s turnout nonetheless.

“When the heavy wind and rain first hit in the early afternoon,” Fisher said, “I thought we were doomed. But when the rain quit around 3:30 or 4 o’clock, a lot of folks decided they could come down and see the parade and not have to worry about parking. I think that helped swell the crowds. There were lots of young families.”

Fisher described the fireworks and parade as “spectacular,” and he was pleased that fewer children were handing out candy from the floats.

“There was better control of the kids behind the barriers,” Fisher added, “and that was really important.”

Festivalgoers and volunteers were equally enthusiastic.

Josephine Yuen, a student at Queen Margaret’s School (QMS) in Duncan, attended the festival with a group of fellow international students.

“It was amazing,” said Yuen, a native of Hong Kong, “the parade and fireworks both.”

Ting Ting, a fellow QMS student hailing from China, said the crowds were the highlight of the night for her.

Ray Gorley drove in from Parksville for Light Up, and he was definitely impressed with what he saw.

“I’ve seen lots of fireworks on Canada Day every year while growing up in Parksville,” Gorley said. “These were longer and they were louder, and it was so fun being close up. It was fantastic.”

Gorley was just as excited about the parade, adding that he’d “never seen a night-time parade.”

Addie Clark, a supervisor with Saint John Ambulance’s medical first-response unit in the Cowichan Valley, said this was her first Light Up. Clark and her fellow first responders volunteered to provide first aid services for festivalgoers, but she said it was a night with few incidents.

“Everyone’s had a safe time,” Clark said, “and they seem to have enjoyed the fireworks. It was awesome.”

Fisher expressed his gratitude to volunteers and Ladysmith town staff who helped set up and tear down barricades along the parade route and for those responsible for the post-parade cleanup.

“If you noticed,” Fisher said, “first thing this morning driving through town, there wasn’t any garbage. Those boys came out early to clean up the town, and now it looks just like it always does — a beautiful little community.”

Ladysmith will remain lit up until the second week of January, Fisher said, with a work party tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in January for take-down.

Just Posted

Caps fall to Clippers in Nanaimo on Friday night

Clippers’ tying and winning goals come in less than a minute

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

Ladysmith Secondary School improv still groovy after 20 years

Catch performances Nov. 15th, 16th, 17th and 22nd, 23rd and 24th

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read