Lacombe planning bigger, better Light Up the Night Festival

Lacombe is building a reputation for its Christmas spirit.

Lacombe is building a reputation for its Christmas spirit.

The city is determined to push the ho ho ho meter up a notch or two this year with the announcement on Tuesday of a bigger and better Light Up the Night Festival, thanks to a presenting sponsor.

Edmonton-based global engineering and design firm Stantec has stepped up with $15,000 over three years for the three-day festival that runs Nov. 27 to 29.

Stantec’s sponsorship is a big contribution for the annual event that has a budget this year of about $40,000. All but $7,500 — which is contributed by the city — comes from local supporters and sponsors, said Guy Lapointe, Lacombe’s community and economic development manager.

Stantec’s involvement will give local organizers the means to build and sustain the annual celebration.

One of the highlights of last year’s festival was a successful Guinness Book of World Records attempt to create the world’s biggest human Christmas tree in a local sports field.

While the 889-person tree record only stood for a few days, it was a big hit in the community

“People found it a great community-building event,” said Lapointe.

“It was really quite something to be part of. We didn’t want to miss that.”

This year, Lacombe is aiming for the world’s biggest snowman — a category yet to be attempted.

Other popular draws will also be back, including the Santa Claus Parade down the main street on Nov. 27, a fireworks show and Lumenight, a Christmas light show at the Lacombe Memorial Centre that has grown rapidly to thousands of lights.

It is expected the parade will be an even bigger draw this year because Red Deer Festival of Trees has dropped its annual November parade in favour of a kickoff event at City Hall Park.

Mayor Steve Christie said council was told by residents in 2010 that the community needed to celebrate more. The Light Up the Night Festival was introduced for 2011 and hasn’t looked back.

The spinoffs are economic, social and cultural, he said. Local groups, such as the Scouts, have also been able to use the event to boost their own fundraising efforts.

Further details on upcoming events can be found at www.heartoflacombe.ca and the city’s website www.lacombe.ca.

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