The Summerland Festival of Lights, the start of the festive season in the community, has been modified to run for three nights for this year.
At the municipal council meeting on Oct. 12, Summerland council approved a $10,000 grant to the Summerland Chamber of Commerce to run this year’s festival. This is the 33rd year for the festival.
Last year, because of restrictions in place to slow the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled. This year, it will be scaled back for three smaller weekend events on Dec. 4, 11 and 18.
The Dec. 4 event will be a drive-by light-up event. This event was first launched in 2020 as a safe event, showcasing the community’s best holiday lights.
Paul Biro, the organizer of last year’s drive-by event, said people contacted him for the map until Dec. 24. He added that during the planned night of last year’s drive-by event, more than 1,000 vehicles participated.
Members of council also had praise for the lights tour from 2020.
“Last year’s drive-by was phenomenal, said Coun. Doug Patan.
“It was really exciting and people came from all over the place,” added Coun. Erin Carlson.
This year, a streaming event will also be put in place for the official light-up in downtown Summerland. In addition, from 5 to 9 p.m., downtown activities will take place, including carolers, characters and a roaming Santa, letters to Santa at the post office, food trucks and activities at the library, the museum and the Summerland Arts Centre.
On Dec. 11 and 18, activities will be held downtown with performances from school choirs and local artists. The Dec. 11 and 18 events will feature a Sip ’n’ Shop format, which has been used in previous years. Businesses will work with a winery of their choice to offer wine tastings while patrons shop at Summerland stores.
The total cost of the 2021 events is estimated at $15,000.
Graham Statt, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said he wants to ensure the launch of the festive season is a safe event for this year.
Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 10,000 people attended the downtown festival.
In addition to the 2021 festival, members of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce are also looking ahead to the 2022 event.
“It takes almost a year to plan for an annual festival,” Statt said.
The chamber asked council to approve a $30,000 contribution for the 2022 event, but council voted to defer that decision until budget time.
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