Woodlawn Regional Park will once again be filled with magic this holiday season. The annual Festival of Lights will kick off on Dec. 18 and will keep going until Jan. 8 next year. The park will light up at dusk each evening for the community to enjoy.
"We are continuing to host the Festival of Lights. It will be our fourth annual celebration ... For us at the park, it's about spreading peace and joy and getting into the Christmas spirit," said park business manager Maureen Daoust.
"Unfortunately, due to COVID we can't have our kick-off party, Christmas in the Park, but we are still inviting people to come down on December 18th, which is the opening day, to come down later in the day before dusk when the lights turn on. We are hoping that people can come, safely social distance and still be part of the initial night of lights turning on and just be a part of excitement with us."
Every year Woodlawn Regional Park invites community members to share in the festivities and spread joy in the Christmas season while promoting their organization or business within the community. It's hard to put a number on how many guests visit the site, but it was estimated that approximately 3,000 vehicles came through the Festival of Lights in each of the 2017-2019 seasons.
This year, the park opened the festival up to families, so any business, non-profit or interested family can set up their displays for others to enjoy.
Last year they had 31 entities participating, and they hope to see even more displays this time. Information has been sent out to those who joined the festival last year as well as to other Estevan businesses, organizations and groups. The cost of participation is $100 for businesses and $50 for non-profit organizations or families.
Daoust said they hope to keep the festival growing with the help of the Estevan Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Estevan and Estevan Mercury. If anyone is interested in participating in this community event, they would need to complete the registration form. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306-637-3588.
Daoust said, there is enough room in the park to accommodate as many companies and groups as possible. Usually, each participant gets two campsites areas to decorate.
"We are encouraging people to fully utilize the space that they have, to decorate and use their imagination, come down and be a part of it, have fun and fellowship, decorating and just getting in the spirit of Christmas with, whether it be your coworkers or staff or fellow volunteers from an organization," said Daoust.
Displays are planned to be installed by Dec. 15, so that park staff and volunteers can go in and put on the timers.
"We put timers on every site so that they all come on at the same time," Daoust explained.
While many traditional Christmas activities are now being cancelled due to the pandemic, fortunately, this event held outdoors can still bring people the Christmas light. During the festival, guests can either walk, keeping a safe distance from other visitors, or drive through the displays. There is no charge for the event, but if people are willing to support the initiative, at the suggestion of the public the park staff installed a donation box at the end of the drive. The donations help the non-profit cover the bills associated with the event and keep it going.
"We are super excited for our fourth annual Festival of Lights," said Daoust.
The Festival of Lights wouldn't be possible without the continuous support of Henders Drugs, Energy Electric Ltd., Southern Plains Co-op and Estevan Chamber of Commerce.