Chestermere will kick off the holiday season Nov. 23 with its annual Winter Lights Festival, an event designed to get the entire community into a festive mood.
“We are extremely excited about the Winter Lights Festival,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “It’s always a great time for our community.”
The festival, which takes place between 4 and 8:30 p.m. at John Peake Park, features a full slate of family activities. Throughout the duration of the event, visitors will be able to enjoy sleigh and train rides around the park, snack on roasted marshmallows or food-truck fare, or peruse a market and decorate cookies at the Chestermere Public Library. The festival will also feature performances by the Chestermere High School Band, a children’s sing-along with princess characters and a fire spinning show.
The event's main attraction will be the illumination of Chestermere’s light display, which features a variety of festive scenes. The displays stay dark until the lighting ceremony, according to Nancie Huneault, special events co-ordinator for the City, making the moment “a fun reveal.”
“Crews started setting up a few weeks ago,” she said. “We don’t have the exact number of lights, but we do add more displays every year. We’d like to recognize the amazing work of our Community Operations staff, who spend many hours making this incredible display.”
Once lit, Chalmers noted, residents will be able to stroll through and admire the bright displays until mid-January.
“Of course, we love – and everybody loves – the fireworks display [beginning at 8 p.m.],” he said. “It’s going to be awesome.”
According to Huneault, the event usually attracts “a few thousand visitors,” depending on the weather. The annual event is highly successful in the City’s eyes, Chalmers said, adding the municipality receives many compliments on the festival and the light display from residents.
“In addition to our people, we just love it when we get compliments from citizens outside of our community, and they see what we’re doing to make it a very festive season here in Chestermere,” he said.
The festival began in 2016, Chalmers said, building on the success of a previous event – Winter Festival, which occurred every February.
“We looked at modernizing that event, and we wanted to have our own winter lights display within the city for our residents to enjoy throughout the holiday season,” he said.
Chalmers said events like the Winter Lights Festival contribute to the quality of life in Chestermere by deepening connections and cultivating a sense of community spirit.
“It really gives an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy what we have to offer here,” he said.