Record crowd of more than 30,000 attends 30th Ladysmith light up

Perfect weather helps pack in the crowds for Festival of Lights

Thousands huddled together all along on First Avenue last Thursday to watch as Ladysmith continued three decades of holiday tradition with its annual Light Up celebration.

The weather conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for late November and the town was already bustling by late afternoon.

Some locals even ditched work early to beat the traffic that comes with a celebration that triples the town’s population on the third Thursday of every November – this year Light Up was held on the fifth week.

“Absolutely super. Good crowd, biggest parade ever, the Credit Union fireworks were amazing, again. The entertainment was great – I think the Light it Up song went over really well,” said Festival president Duck Paterson.

Ladysmith RCMP told the Chronicle that a whopping 31,304 people were on hand as Santa safely landed his sleigh and climbed the ladder to the RBC Royal Bank.

There, a giant switch waited for the master of ceremonies to electrify the town with over 200,000 lights – many converted to LEDs in recent years.

“Santa had a great time and he texted me when he left and said to congratulate the whole town and I’ll be back next year,” Paterson added.

The contribution of Light Up’s visionary Bill Fitzpatrick, who died earlier this year, was also acknowledged at several points in the evening.

“I usually ran into him at least Light Up day and it was knowing that he wasn’t here , but that he was here,” Paterson said. “Bill was a perfectionist and Bill was into lights, camera, action and he’s pulled it off.”

Once again, the Light Up was also pulled off by a core group of 11 of dedicated volunteers who meet throughout the year to plan the event and the dozens of others who help with hanging the lights, setting up the installations and then taking it all down at the end of the six weeks.

“The core group are very dedicated. They live and breath this thing,” Paterson said. “Nanaimo has bathtubs, Chemainus has the murals, Parksville has their sandcastles, Ladysmith has the lights and I don’t know how other communities do it but we do it with volunteers and it wouldn’t happen without them.”

Every year Light Up holds a special memory and this year it might just be the new Locie #11 installation created by Doug West and his team at Ladysmith Marine Services.

“That’s our first real Ladysmith decoration,” Paterson said. “It’s also our first animated decoration – it has history with it.”

But let’s also not forget the parade, with over 70 entries and too many highlights to mention.

However, children’s eyes beamed and parents reached for their cellphones as the dazzling cement truck two crane trucks from Powwell River were the last to reach the end of the parade route at Aggie Hall.

“For people to go to that expense so that others can have a good time it fascinates me,” Paterson said.

 

Just Posted

Hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of VGH says case of retired 77-year-old veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Alt Pride calls for zero police presence at Victoria Pride Parade

Says VPS can’t have good relationships with vulnerable communities if police participate

Divers explore the deeps of Sproat Lake using vintage equipment

Heritage Hard Hat Divers will have a maritime heritage exhibit in Port Alberni

Legend of Victoria dog ‘Cody’ lives on with successful pet drive

Charmaine’s furniture store collecting donations for Victoria Pet Food Bank

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

Forestry and legumes shippers say railways prioritized other commodities

Companies say they lost millions on Port of Vancouver shipments

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

B.C. woman wins Instagram celebrity’s boob job contest

‘Kirill was here’ held a contest for women to win a boob job and a trip to Miami

Man pulls over to help injured owl, gets hit by SUV

Chase RCMP say owl flew away while they were on scene

New food guide addresses ‘elephant’ in the room – alcohol

Experts welcomed the tougher stance on an issue they say demands a co-ordinated strategy

Most Read