To mark the 25th anniversary of the Airdrie Festival of Lights, Nose Creek Valley Museum (NCVM) is hosting a new exhibit highlighting the long-standing holiday tradition’s history and impact on the city.
According to Carrie Allen, a volunteer and board member with NCVM, the exhibit is part of the museum’s annual Christmas display.
“We’re really proud to be partnering with the Festival of Lights,” she said. “They’ve done so much for our community in the years they’ve been operating and it’s such a wonderful event to have here.”
The Airdrie Festival of Lights kicks off its 25th season Dec. 1 at Nose Creek Regional Park (see story page 10) and runs every evening throughout December. The festival includes hundreds of decorative Christmas light displays and features other entertainment including ice-carving demonstrations, miniature train rides, a concession stand, fire pits and more.
Allen said the exhibit includes several artifacts from past iterations of the festival, including an old sign for the event, ticket stubs for miniature train rides, advertising leaflets and newspaper clippings from the 1990s.
“I have a Calgary Herald [clipping] called ‘85,000 bulb display turns spotlight on Airdrie’ from December 1997,” she said. “I have an Oct. 9, 1996 [article called] ‘City alderman Stan Softley hopes to unveil proposed Festival of Lights in Nose Creek Park this December.’”
According to Allen, the exhibit took slightly less than a month to put together.
“The conception might take more time, but from start to finish is about three to four weeks,” she said.
While anyone would likely enjoy the exhibit, Allen said the displays are primarily geared toward young families. To comply with public health measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, she added the displays are not meant to be touched. However, she said they are still visually interactive, in that visitors are meant to look at the displays and solve clues or find matching objects.
“Instead of touch this and figure out what this is, all the 78 creatures from the 12 Days of Christmas…are actually throughout the exhibit so kids can look for every piece of that traditional Christmas song,” she said, adding another display tasks attendees with pairing together gingerbread characters.
The exhibit opened Nov. 17 and will remain open until January 2021, Allen said. She stressed NCVM is operating with a limited capacity due to the pandemic and visits are, therefore, by appointment only.
“The Festival of Lights, their theme is ‘Celebrating 25 years of family tradition,’” she said. “That’s really what we tried to do with it – it’s a really warm, homey, come-hang-out-with-your kids-at-the-museum kind of exhibit.”
Another incentive to check out the exhibit, Allen said, is that the first 250 visitors will receive a free ticket for the festival's miniature train rides.