The Burlington Festival of Lights (actually called the Lakeside Festival of Lights) is in its 19th year, it began in 1996. It was originally created by the Downtown Burlington Business Association (BDBA) and consisted of only 8 displays. Within a year enough support was gathered to add 9 more displays. It has continued to grow by 4 or 5 displays each year. Some of the original displays are still up this year; the sailing ship, shooting star, 2 bells, candles and the snowman are the only original displays that remain.
The BDBA was in charge of coordination for 16 years. In 2012, Burlington Electrical Services took over. “Burlington Electrical Services is the sister company of Burlington Hydro,” said Christine Hallas. Hallas is part of the coordination group. “Burlington Hydro has been a part of the festival from the beginning,” said Hallas; they provided volunteers with electrical expertise to assist in the setup. She and her team have continued to grow the festival and were successful in transitioning it to become more energy efficient.
“We ‘greened’ the festival,” Hallas said. “All of the displays now run on LED lighting. These bulbs use one one-hundredth of the power of regular bulbs.”
Hallas continues to work with the BDBA coordinating volunteers, sponsors, set-up and maintenance. There are 30 sponsors in this year’s festival. These sponsors are the first of two types; they donate money to assist with set-up, maintenance as well as the purchase of new displays. The second type is the many service providers who assist with the social media and promotion; also restaurants who volunteer to serve food to volunteers during setup.
The BDBA’s candlelit stroll was done in coordination with the opening ceremony this year. Beginning with the lighting of Burlington’s Christmas Tree of Hope in civic square, the stroll took carollers through downtown Burlington, through the festival area.
“It was a great event that brought a lot of attention to the festival as well all of the sponsors who helped,” said Hallas. The Works provided turkey burgers, and Tim Horton’s handed out hot chocolate. There was even a visit from the man in red!
This year the first 3-D display was put up. The polar bear will be the first of many 3-D displays to come, Halls hopes.
The festival will run until the first weekend of January.
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