With the Light Up the Night festival right around the corner, our community ought to take stock of what it takes to pull something like this together.
First of all, it takes ideas.
These ideas have grown through City employees, citizens at large and continuous input from festival attendees. Lacombe has grown over the past few years and Light Up the Night has grown accordingly. The event began as a one-day celebration with a small parade, a few movies and that was basically it.
Now, it’s a booming five-day festival that brings together all corners of Lacombe in a high-spirited, community-building event that delights crowds year after year.
The second ingredient in a festival is partnerships.
From businesses to City staff, to local newspapers and advertisers, the City as a whole has to come together to create a strong support network and build up a festival for it to be successful.
Sponsors, either through a business or personal accounts, step up to cover costs to bring low-cost or free events to the community, which means people can get out and enjoy the offerings without breaking the bank.
This is especially pertinent for families.
Given the current economy, families are having more and more difficulty in being able to take time out and participate in events that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Most of the festival is family-friendly, but here are a few specific family-oriented items: the huge ice slide in Lest We Forget Park (for kids of all ages), the Tim Horton’s Santa Claus Parade, followed by the grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, story time with Mrs. Claus at the Michener House Museum, Flatiron Christmas Crafts and the family drop-in night for Youth Unlimited at the YU-Turn Centre on Nov. 24th.
As well, the traditional screening of Polar Express comes with a 3D twist this year, and after that families can head to the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre for a free swim, thanks to local sponsors.
A huge praise for partnerships also comes through in the various community craft sales, the annual Christmas Faire and the Midnight Madness shopping experience that ties in with the Chamber of Commerce Passport to Christmas event.
Without the local partnership of businesses, our Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce and the participation of the community at large, the Moonlight Madness event (Nov. 24th, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.) simply would cease to exist. It’s a great opportunity to support local businesses, get to know the goods and services available in the City and build up our local economy.
A final and crucial component that carries the success of the festival is of course – the community itself.
Lacombe is known for being a caring, welcoming community that supports local initiatives to continuously build on.
Lacombe is also a neighbourly City that was built on close relationships and has maintained the small-town atmosphere amidst the bigger city amenities.
For a great example of community spirit, look to two of the most popular events with Light Up the Night – the Tim Horton’s Santa Claus Parade and the Tree Lighting in Lest We Forget Memorial Park.
Our parade began with a small following, and has grown to include nearly 30 businesses from around the City who come together to create fun, unique displays that bring joy to those who brave the cold and frost to enjoy the spectacle.
Immediately following said parade, hundreds gather outside the Lacombe Memorial Centre – a true community facility in itself – to collectively watch the beauty of the Tree Lighting ceremony and be dazzled by the light display that builds each year.
The holiday season truly stands as a time to build community, either through festivals, fundraising campaigns, ‘Secret Santa’ events in businesses and humble gatherings among friends and family.
This season, take time to get out in the community and embrace the services, ideas and people that make Lacombe a true community.