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Get ready: 5,000 strings of seasonal lights about to be switched on in Red Deer

This year’s City Hall Park display will light-up at 4:30 p.m. Thursday
Hundreds of Red Deerians come out to see the lights at Red Deer City Hall Park each year. (Black Press file photo)

Expect more holiday twinkle at Red Deer City Hall Park and the downtown when this year’s seasonal light display gets switched on at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

From a 180-foot “snow tunnel” leading to a nine-foot snowman to more glimmering lights wrapped around downtown lamp posts and higher into tree-tops, Joe Pelz the City of Red Deer’s parks foreman, said Red Deerians will notice some bright novelties.

City Hall’s flag colonnade will be flanked by two giant snowmen, and additional glowing deer will be spotted on the lawn of City Hall. These decorations were picked up on sale after last Christmas, said Pelz. “We try to add something new every year, and we wrap the trees so they aren’t the same colours…

“I hope people will come out and watch for the light-up,” he added — or come later, when it is fully dark, to enjoy walking through the winter wonderland.

Red Deer’s downtown festive lights are considered by some to be among the most impressive seasonal displays in Alberta.

This year’s array requires more than 5,000 strings of LED lights — which one parks worker has been installing every workday since Sept. 1. Pelz said the usual start date is towards the end of September, “but we ran out of time last year, so I thought we should start earlier.”

It’s always a challenge, not only to wrap high tree branches using a lift truck but to mount and brace all of the ground decorations so they can’t be easily tipped over or stolen, he added.

The effort kicked into high gear over the last eight weeks when a team of seven people have been busy decorating City Hall Park, downtown poles and Ross Street Patio, Centennial Park (behind the downtown McDonald’s) and Capstone.

Pelz said the idea is Red Deerians can follow the lights — right from City Hall Park to Capstone. The colourful display will stay up until at least the third Monday in January — which was dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

Many festive events are being planned in the lead-up to the holidays as part of Red Deer Lights the Nights.

- On Friday, Santa Claus will arrive on the Ross Street Patio for a North Pole Patio Party. Free hot chocolate and kids’ craft bags will be given out. There will also be fire pits and candy cane games with elves, running from 4 to 7 p.m.

- B!G Art displays will be installed at Capstone from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3 — a photo op and chance to win prizes.

- Rare and Remarkable Art Market will be held Nov. 25 at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

- Winter Markets (tentatively) at the Millennium Centre will be held Nov. 24 and 25.

- Capstone’s Winter Nights Festival on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 will feature live music, art, entertainment, late night shopping and other activities.

- Frost Street patio party is on at the Ross Street Patio.

- The glowing, decorated Santa’s Bus will roam through Red Deer’s neighbourhoods on Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16.

- Downtown Twinkle Tour on Dec. 15 will mean late-night shopping and a scavenger hunt in a festive atmosphere.

More information, including times and schedules, are available at

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