Oyster Harbour residents are ready for Light Up. From left to right: Ralph Carlson, Janet Gray, Kay Rozzano, Angelina Passarelly, Wilma Ostle, Tracy Mckee, Phillis Timothy, Angie Willett (Cole Schisler photo)

Ladymith elders still giddy for town’s annual for Festival of Lights

Vancouver Island’s most-celebrated Light Up event happens tonight in downtown Ladysmith

The lights strung, the decorations are up, and spirits are high as Ladysmith prepares for the 32nd annual Light Up Festival of Lights tonight.

At Oyster Harbour Seniors Community, Light Up is a chance for residents to participate in the community they helped build. Residents will join the Light Up parade in the Oyster Harbour shuttle bus decorated by Roy Mckee and Janet Gray.

Phillis Timothy, Wilma Ostle, Kay Rozzano, and Ralph Carlson have lived in Ladysmith their entire lives. Each of them remembers the first Light Up, 32 years ago.

“We saw it all get started, then eventually they came from all over — bus loads — and they’re still coming,” Timothy said.

Rozzano said there were around 300 – 500 people at the first Light Up. Last year’s Light Up saw over close to 30,000 people according to RCMP estimates.

“They said they have to cut the parade down this year, because there’s too many floats wanting to come in,” Rozzano said.

Collectively, the group estimated about 10 floats were in the first parade. They remember floats from Ladysmith service clubs like the Kinsmen, the Eagles, the Healthcare Auxiliary, the Native Daughters, and Ladysmith Fire Rescue.

This will be Oyster Harbour’s third year in the Light Up parade, and they’re just as excited as they were the first time.

“By the time we got down to the Wigwam I was ready to run up and kiss Santa Claus I was so excited,” Carlson said.

Each of the residents shared their favourite thing about Light Up.

“Oh gosh, that’s pretty hard to say, because it’s all wonderful,” Timothy said. “All the people, and all that. To see all the busloads coming in, it’s pretty exciting.”

“Being on the bus, and waving to the people outside. We were all together, singing on the bus, doing things like that. It’s a happy time,” Ostle said.

“Everybody’s in a happy mood. All the kids wave for Santa. All your worries and troubles go out the window,” Rozzano said.

“I like being in the parade. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. I used to cook at the Eagles, we ended up with 500-600 spaghetti dinners a night. A lot of dishes I tell yah’,” Carlson said.

The group expressed gratitude for all the people who have come together over the years to make Light Up happen, both in the past, and today. They look forward to taking part in this year’s Light Up parade, and hope to see many smiling faces lining 1st Avenue.

“Getting to be in this parade, to play with purpose, and getting to remember the past, and getting to be part of the now — getting to be a part of the community they created is pretty incredible,” Oyster Harbour recreation coordinator Angelina Passarelly said.

Ladysmith light-up need-to-knows

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights — the Island’s biggest Christmas light-up — happens tonight, Thursday, Nov. 28.

It starts with a community spaghetti dinner at 3 p.m. at the Eagles Hall ($10 adults and kids under eight, $5), there’s a Christmas craft fair at the Aggie Hall at 4 p.m. and street entertainment and food concessions open and onstage entertainment will continue until 6:15 p.m.

Then the place goes crazy as everyone gets into position along First Avenue downtown to welcome Santa Claus, who shows up at 6:30 p.m. to light up downtown. Following that, there’s a light-up parade starting at 6:45 p.m.

After the parade, at Aggie Hall, there’s the light-up at the hall, Bob Stuart Park, and the Chuck Perrin Christmas Tree, along with spectacular fireworks.

First Avenue will be closed to traffic from 3 p.m. until after the light-up. Organizers ask that people please do not bring pets downtown for the light-up.

This is a hugely popular event, so unless you plan to arrive really early, be ready to walk some distance from your car to get to your viewing spot.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The festive decorations that energized in late November for the Ladysmith Festival of Lights are coming down this weekend. (file photo)

Just Posted

Federal NDP suggests universal benefit to streamline aid payments

Those who do not need money will repay at end of tax year

Show us your positive messages, gestures and actions

Pinecrest teachers send message to their school community

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Johnny Dollar Plumbing & Heating offers to pick up meds, groceries in Campbell River

Company’s trucks are available to help out those who are self-isolating due to illness or age

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Campbell River community COVID-19 agencies, services and resources list

The list outlines status of social agencies in the community

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Most Read