Pictured here is Santa Claus making an appearance during the parade at a past ‘Light Up Lacombe’ festival here in town. This year’s four-day event kicks off Nov. 24. Express file photo

Pictured here is Santa Claus making an appearance during the parade at a past ‘Light Up Lacombe’ festival here in town. This year’s four-day event kicks off Nov. 24. Express file photo

Light Up Lacombe Festival promises plenty of seasonal family fun

‘It’s this great big ball of fun that everyone gets to experience right here in Lacombe’

Right around the corner, this year’s Light Up Lacombe Festival promises plenty of seasonal family fun.

Kicking off on Nov. 24, Light up Lacombe is described as the type of event that captures all of the tradition, heritage, and charm of a good old-fashioned Christmas festival.

This year’s presenting sponsor is Stantec.

“It’s a return to a pre-COVID festival – we haven’t been able to run the festival as have traditionally because of COVID – so we are excited to return to what everybody loves about this festival which is a great gathering of community members to kick off the holidays,” said Guy Lapointe, Festival organizer.

He’s been with the event since the start when it was mainly an evening of shopping.

But over the years, it’s grown extensively.

Soon a Santa Claus parade was added to the mix. “Then we thought we will turn on the lights at the end of the parade, and see what everyone thinks of that.”

Over the years, the Christmas lights display also grew.

Then the length of the festival grew as well.

“Every year there were suggestions, and it just mushroomed into this (multi-day) event,” he said.

“To watch it start from its humble beginnings to where it has come to today, it really is a regional attraction. It’s also been great to see the businesses, the non-profits, and the support from sponsors. Every year, it isn’t even a question – people are asking how they can get involved,” he said. “It’s a great thing to be part of. It’s this great big ball of fun that everyone gets to experience right here in Lacombe.

“What’s also on full display is the community’s connectivity – you can see the neighborliness of everybody. The crowds are bustling, the streets are packed which is always great to see. And everyone is genuinely happy.

“The event itself is really unique, and because it’s also so familiar with the holiday season it’s just a great bonding experience for everyone who participates.”

Highlights include the Echo Energy Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. and the Tree Lighting Ceremony also on Nov. 24 starting at 6:45 p.m. at the LMC.

“The Santa Claus parade is something that everyone has come to really love and appreciate,” he said, adding that the event draws folks from across the region. “That Thursday evening is really quite something to see. The highlight is the parade leading to the lights being turned on downtown, and that display is really quite something.

“Everyone from the parade follows in behind Santa and we all walk into the courtyard – it’s shoulder to shoulder when they flip on those lights. It’s quite something,” he said. “It also brings people into our downtown, where they have the opportunity to shop, celebrate and enjoy the festive season.”

The Lacombe Christmas Faire is also set for Nov. 24 through to Nov. 26 at the LMC.

Winter Story Time runs Nov. 24 outside the Flatiron Museum, beginning at 4 p.m.

“The storytelling over by the Flatiron will feature some indigenous stories, so I think it’s a new opportunity where we’re talking about the winter solstice and also getting some insight into how other groups celebrate this time of year,” he explained.

Moonlight Madness also runs Nov. 24 at the Lacombe Centre Mall and throughout Downtown Lacombe, and the Under $100 Art Market runs at the LMC from Nov. 24 through to Nov. 26.

Festive musical performances will also be held Nov. 24-25 at the LMC and other Light Up Lacombe highlights include ‘Lift Someone into the Light’ which starts at 5:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church on Nov. 24.

And don’t miss the fire dancers on Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lacombe Memorial Centre Courtyard.

Sponsored by Cilantro and Chive, the Breakfast with Santa runs on Nov. 27 at the LMC.

“It’s a big hit among the community – you get a second chance to go sit down with Santa and snap a picture.”

And right before Christmas, don’t miss the fireworks at Cranna Lale on Dec. 22.

Other events include a Gingerbread House Decorating Contest, a Scandinavian Papercraft Workshop, a showing of the classic holiday film Polar Express, and Selfies with Santa.

For complete details about all the Festival events and times, check out this week’s edition of the Lacombe Express for the Light up Lacombe Festival Guide.

Visit www.lightuplacombe.ca.

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