Moonlight Madness will fill Qualicum Beach with Christmas carols and lights to launch the holiday season on Thursday night.
“There will be pipers, Santa, decorated firetrucks, Village Voices groups strolling around carolling, a huge walking Christmas tree, people giving out candy canes and glow sticks, along with the Christmas tree light up and the Island’s largest pyjama party,” said Patrick Simpson, with almost breathless excitement.
Simpson, event coordinator with the Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association, the organizing body of Moonlight Madness, explained that this year they are switching from the traditional light-up of a Christmas tree at the QB Hall on Memorial Avenue, to centralizing things in the town hall’s Glassford Square.
Santa, his appearance sponsored by Remax, will be set up in a Santa’s village-like display in the town square gazebo, with Qualicum School of Dance children providing an adorable honour guard. They will also be providing information around town.
Music will ring through the streets, with the carollers, two groups of musicians from Kwalikum Secondary’s acclaimed music program performing in the streets along with performances by popular local band Celtic Chaos.
Other entertainment will include a chance to sit in on a rehearsal for the Echo Player’s play Ethan Claymore at 7 p.m. The theatre will be open from 6-9 p.m., with drinks and snacks, and the Oceanside Jammers will play some up-beat acoustic tunes from 6:30-6:50 p.m.
People can also join the Ethan Claymore Christmas Tree Hunt, finding clues in stores around town for a chance to win four tickets to the play.
For the younger crowd there will be stories read in the library.
“The town and BC Hydro have been busy installing lights all week,” Simpson said. While lights will be on around town before then, town square will get the big ceremonial light up at 6 p.m.
“This isn’t just about shop local — we know you can’t always do that — but try us first. There are a lot of super shops here that will all be open. Come in and find out what we have to offer.”
Participating stores will have entry forms for a huge gift basket, with a drop-off location at the top of Second Avenue (toward the Civic Centre) and many stores will have hot chocolate and treats.
Simpson said the festivities will start around 5:30 p.m. and go as late as there are still people shopping, guessing about 9 p.m.
“The idea is to have some fun. If we’re having fun as merchants I guarantee the customers will have fun,” he summed up.