Oyster Harbour residents are ready for Light Up. From left to right: Ralph Carlson, Janet Gray, Kay Rozzano, Angelina Passarelly, Wilma Ostle, Tracy Mckee, Phillis Timothy, Angie Willett (Cole Schisler photo)

Oyster Harbour residents are ready for Light Up. From left to right: Ralph Carlson, Janet Gray, Kay Rozzano, Angelina Passarelly, Wilma Ostle, Tracy Mckee, Phillis Timothy, Angie Willett (Cole Schisler photo)

Ladymith elders still giddy for town’s annual for Festival of Lights

Vancouver Island’s most-celebrated Light Up event happens tonight in downtown Ladysmith

The lights strung, the decorations are up, and spirits are high as Ladysmith prepares for the 32nd annual Light Up Festival of Lights tonight.

At Oyster Harbour Seniors Community, Light Up is a chance for residents to participate in the community they helped build. Residents will join the Light Up parade in the Oyster Harbour shuttle bus decorated by Roy Mckee and Janet Gray.

Phillis Timothy, Wilma Ostle, Kay Rozzano, and Ralph Carlson have lived in Ladysmith their entire lives. Each of them remembers the first Light Up, 32 years ago.

“We saw it all get started, then eventually they came from all over — bus loads — and they’re still coming,” Timothy said.

Rozzano said there were around 300 – 500 people at the first Light Up. Last year’s Light Up saw over close to 30,000 people according to RCMP estimates.

“They said they have to cut the parade down this year, because there’s too many floats wanting to come in,” Rozzano said.

Collectively, the group estimated about 10 floats were in the first parade. They remember floats from Ladysmith service clubs like the Kinsmen, the Eagles, the Healthcare Auxiliary, the Native Daughters, and Ladysmith Fire Rescue.

This will be Oyster Harbour’s third year in the Light Up parade, and they’re just as excited as they were the first time.

“By the time we got down to the Wigwam I was ready to run up and kiss Santa Claus I was so excited,” Carlson said.

Each of the residents shared their favourite thing about Light Up.

“Oh gosh, that’s pretty hard to say, because it’s all wonderful,” Timothy said. “All the people, and all that. To see all the busloads coming in, it’s pretty exciting.”

“Being on the bus, and waving to the people outside. We were all together, singing on the bus, doing things like that. It’s a happy time,” Ostle said.

“Everybody’s in a happy mood. All the kids wave for Santa. All your worries and troubles go out the window,” Rozzano said.

“I like being in the parade. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. I used to cook at the Eagles, we ended up with 500-600 spaghetti dinners a night. A lot of dishes I tell yah’,” Carlson said.

The group expressed gratitude for all the people who have come together over the years to make Light Up happen, both in the past, and today. They look forward to taking part in this year’s Light Up parade, and hope to see many smiling faces lining 1st Avenue.

“Getting to be in this parade, to play with purpose, and getting to remember the past, and getting to be part of the now — getting to be a part of the community they created is pretty incredible,” Oyster Harbour recreation coordinator Angelina Passarelly said.

Ladysmith light-up need-to-knows

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights — the Island’s biggest Christmas light-up — happens tonight, Thursday, Nov. 28.

It starts with a community spaghetti dinner at 3 p.m. at the Eagles Hall ($10 adults and kids under eight, $5), there’s a Christmas craft fair at the Aggie Hall at 4 p.m. and street entertainment and food concessions open and onstage entertainment will continue until 6:15 p.m.

Then the place goes crazy as everyone gets into position along First Avenue downtown to welcome Santa Claus, who shows up at 6:30 p.m. to light up downtown. Following that, there’s a light-up parade starting at 6:45 p.m.

After the parade, at Aggie Hall, there’s the light-up at the hall, Bob Stuart Park, and the Chuck Perrin Christmas Tree, along with spectacular fireworks.

First Avenue will be closed to traffic from 3 p.m. until after the light-up. Organizers ask that people please do not bring pets downtown for the light-up.

This is a hugely popular event, so unless you plan to arrive really early, be ready to walk some distance from your car to get to your viewing spot.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The festive decorations that energized in late November for the Ladysmith Festival of Lights are coming down this weekend. (file photo)

The festive decorations that energized in late November for the Ladysmith Festival of Lights are coming down this weekend. (file photo)

Just Posted

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

(File photo)
RCMP warn of counterfeit bill use in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Police have received four calls in December regarding bogus bills

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Dr. Sandra Allison is Island Health’s medical health officer for the central Island. (Photo submitted)
OPINION: Don’t let fear take over during the pandemic

Central Island medical health officer shares her reflections riding the bus

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read