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Winter Lights Festival ready to glow in Chestermere

Chestermere’s John Peake Park will come alive Nov. 24, when the City hosts the third annual Winter Lights Festival.
Lights aglow
The City of Chestermere’s Winter Lights Festival is set to glow Nov. 24 at John Peake Park.

Chestermere’s John Peake Park will come alive Nov. 24, when the City hosts the third annual Winter Lights Festival. “We start off the evening with toasty-warm fire pits and hot chocolate,” said Nancie Huneault, event co-ordinator at the City of Chestermere. “At six o’clock, we do the official turning-on of the lights. The finale for the evening is the fireworks.” Sleigh or wagon rides are available, she added, and entertainment is provided by stilt walkers, fire spinners and the Chestermere High School Band. The entire event is free to attend. Visitors can also hop on board the little toot-train, as it makes its way around the boardwalk. “It has cars for all the little kids to sit in. We pick them up at one end of the park and take them along the boardwalk, in the archway around the pavilion and then back,” Huneault said. “It’s a pretty good ride, actually, for little ones, and it’s a good workout for parents because, sometimes, they jog beside [the train].” At 6:15 p.m., the Ice Princesses will perform on the Pavilion Stage, followed by an opportunity for little aspiring princes and princessses to have their photos taken with the performers. “It’s a sing-along with the kids. It’s a big favourite,” Huneault said. The Chestermere Library will host gingerbread cookie decorating from 4 to 8 p.m., as well as a small Holiday Market with a variety of vendors offering handmade goods. Food trucks will be at the park, offering food for sale, and Tim Hortons is providing free hot chocolate to anyone who comes out. Although Nov. 24 is the official launch of the holiday lights at the park, City parks crews began setting up the displays in October, Huneault said, which will remain up until at least mid-January 2019. “We wanted a festival that was going to kick off the holiday season. It was something we thought would bring out more families,” she said. “People really love to come out and catch the spirit of the holidays with all the lights.” Huneault said the festival typically draws between 1,500 and 2,000 visitors each year. “[The festival] is for everyone – anyone who has holiday spirit in their heart,” she said. “It really has special magic that happens when you’re out and there’s fire pits and lights coming on – it really does have a special feel to it. “It’s a real community event, and we love seeing the community come out and enjoy it. That’s why we do it.”