ESTEVAN — The Woodlawn Regional Park is getting ready for the annual Festival of Lights.
This year it will start with the Christmas in the Park traditional festivities on Dec. 18 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. The park's kick-off to Christmas was cancelled two years in a row due to the pandemic.
Woodlawn business manager Maureen Daoust said they will have quite a few activities for people to enjoy in and around the park’s Doug Third Building.
"The co-op sponsors free hot dogs and hot chocolate. Santa will be there for photos. And we are hoping to have our horse and wagon rides again," Daoust shared.
They are also currently working on finding an available hockey team that would come and play road hockey with the guests. The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum is planning to set up an art corner as well, and the park plans to have a few fire pits going to help guests warm up.
"We've always had that free event for the community. And we haven't been able to have it the last couple of years, so we're excited to get back into motion," Daoust said.
The kick-off to Christmas will culminate with fireworks out of the Woodlawn Athletic Park on the north side of the river at about 6:30 p.m.
The light displays will be turned on once the fireworks are over. Lights will come on at dusk each night from Dec. 18-Jan. 7, 2023, and are timed to shut off during the overnight hours.
So far this year, the park has 50-55 businesses and groups registered, which is on par with 2021. A lot of participants are returning. A few couldn't make it and some new ones are joining the event.
"We have a seasonal group camping site, and they decorate theirs. And we had a group of three families [put up a display last year], but they're not sure if they're coming back .... We have a couple of places of worship … And then we have a few service organizations like Rotary and the Lions. And then we have businesses. And then we also have our essential services – Estevan Fire and Rescue, and MADD, RCMP and Estevan city police do a partnership one. And we have affiliates to the park like Estevan Minor Football, they use our athletic fields, and Estevan Bible Camp that is located also within the park," Daoust listed examples of groups that participate in the event.
"We are excited. Almost everybody is returning and there's only a handful that aren't. And we have a few new people that are interested, primarily businesses."
Daoust noted that all participants will need to put up displays by Dec. 13, so that the park would have enough time to organize the breakers. If anyone wants to join the event with their display, they have up until that date.
"We can always fit people in last minute and we would definitely find space for them," Daoust said.
Local businesses, service clubs and non-profit organizations, churches, as well as groups of friends and family members are invited to showcase their creativity and set up their unique displays at the park. Daoust noted thousands of people go through the light displays every year. Besides, decorating a light display is a wonderful way to bring joy and the Christmas spirit to the community.
For more information about the Festival of Lights and participation, go to Woodlawn Regional Park Facebook page, their website at woodlawnregionalpark.com or email Daoust at firstname.lastname@example.org.