If you’re heading south on Hwy 21 over the next couple weeks and see a red and green glow coming from Trochu, don’t be alarmed.
That glow is the Trochu Arboretum Society’s annual Christmas light show, Forest of Lights. The event runs every night from 5:30 to 9 p.m. until New Year’s Day.
There is music and hot chocolate or apple cider available at the arboretum daily.
“It’s a really unique little park,” said Rick Kober, society board member. “It’s gorgeous out there. I don’t really know how to describe it – we just try to light as many trees as we can.”
Every year a new display is put up from the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Right now the Forest of Lights has 10 days on display.
“We have the days spread out, so people walk around and look for them. When we’re sitting by the fire people will say they didn’t see one of the days so they’ll go look for it,” Kober said.
A number of volunteers work to put the event on every year. About 10 people start setting up the lights in October by striking pegs into the ground for the path lights.
Kober said even though the Forest of Lights began Friday, work will continue until Jan. 1.
The event wouldn’t be achievable without the volunteers who set up the forest, greet guests and hand out warm drinks.
“It’s a really good community effort. There’s a lot of people from here who help put this on and are supportive,” he said.
People have also donated lights in the past, including reindeer and angel figures.
There are four free hot dog nights at the arboretum – Saturday night is the first. The other free hot dog nights are Dec. 22, 27 and 29.
The amount of people who come out is very weather dependent, said Kober.
“If it’s 30-below we don’t get a lot of people coming out, but on the hot dog nights the place is crowded,” he said.
Kober said it’s always neat to see people visiting the town for the Forest of Lights.
“We get people from Ontario and the States stop by when they’re visiting for Christmas. We get people from all over the place,” said Kober.
“We have visitors come back year after year who make sure to see the lights each Christmas … and people seem to really appreciate all the effort and Christmas spirit that’s gone into this,” he said.
The event is free to the public, but donations can be made to the Trochu Arboretum Society.
More information on the Forest of Lights can be found at town.trochu.ab.ca.