Photos By Stephen Dafoe and Lucie Roy
You’ve got to be pleased with this year’s Light Up the Night Christmas Festival, and anyone we talked to Saturday certainly was. Standing in St. Jean Baptiste Park Saturday night after the lights were lit was an experience that is hard to explain to someone who was not part of it. It was communal in that some 2,500 people gathered downtown to watch a parade, see Santa and Mrs. Claus light the park, and then drift through it en route to the best spots to watch the sky above ignite into a display of fireworks.
But the sparkles in people’s eyes weren’t merely reflections of the lights exploding in the night sky; they were the twinkles of the Christmas season, kicked off only moments before, and the sparkle of people coming together as a community. There has been a lot of that over the past year as individuals and groups have worked hard on a variety of initiatives either separately or collectively.
Saturday’s portion of the weekend-long festival was a fine example of that. As festival organizer Ruthanne Weeks told us prior to the event, this year’s Light up the Night Festival incorporated more than 100 volunteers. They should all take a bow. From the Youth in Action Committee (among the youngest volunteers in our community) who ran crafts and games to the 71-year-old former local hockey star who came out to take part in the Century of Hockey game Saturday night, many hands touched an event that could not help but touch the community who participated in it.
Saturday offered a wide-range of activities from the Lion’s Breakfast with Santa to the Century of Hockey game at the arena. In between were craft vendors, children’s activities, the parade and all the rest, each event embellished with new twists and turns. Whether it was an impromptu dance routing by way of flash mob just prior to the parade, a novelty lever for Mr. and Mrs. Claus to light up the park with, or the cultural centre’s technician setting up an elaborate sound system to really pump out the sounds of Christmas, those extra touches went a long way to make the event special, and to show all of us just how many people there are who care about Morinville and its residents.
Parade Float Winners
Most Festive Float – Morinville Public Elementary School
Best Youth and Children – Notre Dame Elementary
Best Promotion of Business – RV City
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