by Colin Smith
Lite Up The Nite is coming up and this year there will be even more reasons to take in the Christmas festival, which runs November 28 to 30.
Local restaurants will be offering up samples their fare as part of A Taste of Morinville, at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 28.
That will be followed by a performance of the Hoja vocal ensemble at the centre at 7 p.m.
This Calgary-based a cappella group has been performing for more than 15 years for audiences from British Columbia to Ontario. Their repertoire of favorite songs from the 50s to the present spans many styles of music, from doo wop to rock, and from country to disco.
Each of the group’s three members sings a variety of different voice parts including bass lines, lead vocals, tenor and baritone parts, instrument sounds such as guitars and trumpets, beatboxing and drum noises, and assorted sound effects.
“This will be good fun for the whole family,” said Allen Jacobson, Morinville’s community events coordinator.
Jacobson anticipates that around 3,000 people from all over the area will take in the many Lite Up The Nite activities, almost all of which are free.
“It’s going to be a great weekend,” he said. “There is a lot going on.”
It all begins at 9:30 a.m. on Friday when a bus and Santa Claus appear at No Frills for the Fill-A-Bus event in support of the Morinville Food Bank. Everyone is encouraged to bring a donation to help fill the bus. It will be at No Frills until 1 p.m. and then at Sobeys from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The deadline for the Best Lights Competition is also on Friday, at 4 p.m. For information call Community Services at 780-939-7839.
At 8:30 p.m. the Morinville Jets Alumni Hockey Game and Silent Action will take place at the Ray McDonald Sports Center.
Events on Saturday, November 29 kick off with the Lions Pancake Breakfast with Santa, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Rendez-Vous Centre, 9913-100 Avenue.
The Children’s Festival, featuring free activities for kids including crafts, games, face painting, bouncy castle photos with Santa, runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. There will also be performances by Major Conrad Flapps at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a hot dog lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
The Annual Christmas Farmer’s Market will be going on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Morinville Community High School.
The cultural centre is the starting point for the Christmas Parade at 5:30 p.m. During the parade, which will likely have 25 to 30 entries, postal workers will be going along the route collecting children’s letters addressed to Santa and members of other groups will be handing out cups of hot chocolate and apple cider.
Following the parade is Light Up The Park, during which the illuminated displays in St. Jean Baptiste Park are lit, and then fireworks will be set off.
“It’s a nice thing,” said Jacobson. “The kids love it.”
Hockey fans can enjoy the Morinville Jets game at the Ray McDonald Sports Center. After that is the Morinville Kings Sr. “AA” Hockey Game — free admission with food bank donation.
On Sunday, November 30 there will be a free family skate with Santa from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Ray McDonald facility. Also on tap is a family movie at the community cultural centre, with free popcorn and pop. The showing of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey, begins at 6 p.m., with doors at 5:45 p.m.
Judging of the Best Lights Competition by a group of seniors and youth will begin at 6 p.m.
Jacobson said one of the best things about the inclusive, family-oriented event is that it brings people together.
“As well as being a celebration of the Christmas season, it’s a celebration of the great community that is Morinville,” he said.