With the flip of a switch, downtown Red Deer was filled with Christmas spirit.
As many as 10,000 people came to City Hall Park for the annual Red Deer Lights the Night event, which culminated in the lighting of the park and city Christmas tree.
“It looks absolutely amazing. It looks fantastic every year, but I wonder if our parks staff snuck in a few extra lights this year, because it looks extra sparkly,” said Tara O’Donnell, Red Deer’s culture superintendent.
While the lights turn on with just the flip of a switch, it takes a long time to put this display together, said O’Donnelly.
“It starts getting set up weeks in advance,” she said.
O’Donnelly estimated about 10,000 people attended Saturday evening’s event, which also featured live music, games and more.
“This is the one time that absolutely everybody in the community comes out. You see everybody here. Earlier, I was working with the volunteers and we had a newcomer who just arrived from Somalia, like two months ago, and he’s volunteering. I think that’s amazing,” said O’Donnell.
Mayor Tara Veer, who turned the Christmas lights on alongside two young Red Deer students, said Lights the Night is an opportunity to kick off the Christmas season.
“It’s great to see our community come together and celebrate what’s great about our community,” said Veer.
“We’ve had a year of significant challenges, but it’s absolutely imperative as a community that we continue to pull together and work towards the greater good. Tonight reminds us of what we really have in this great city we’re fortunate to call home.”