Lions Club Festival of Lights marks 26th year

Mayor Naheed Nenshi flipped the switch on Calgary’s largest free drive-by Christmas light display Dec. 1st at the Confederation Park Golf Course. Its the 26th anniversary for the Lion’s Festival of Lights display, and a memorable one at that: for the first time, the display is 90 per cent green.

“Volunteers have just finished converting 101,000 light bulbs from the conventional incandescent bulbs to energy-saving LEDs,” stated a Lions Club press release.

The environmentally friendly changes cost $70,000, but one 25-bulb string of lights will consume the same amount of power one of the previously used bulbs.

Volunteers put in over 2,000 hours to develop the dazzling display, which stretches on for half-a-kilometre along 14th Street N.W. from 24th Avenue to just south of Northmount Drive.

Some 55,000 Calgarians are expected to attend daily.

The display will be lit for all to enjoy from 7 p.m. to midnight until Jan. 8th.

The Lion’s Club started the Festival of Lights in 1987, thanks to Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, which donated an initial $100,000 to start the project. Sunshine has contributed more than $330,000 since

“Sunshine relies heavily on the Calgary market,” said John Scurfield, vice-president of marketing at Sunshine Village, in the press release.

“We felt this would be an appropriate way of thanking Calgarians for their support,” Scurfield said.

Over the years more than 23,000 volunteer hours have gone into the project, and this year organizations such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 254, and members of the Lions Club contributed their time to make it possible.

“This is our way to show our appreciation for the support the community has given the Lions traditional sight-related programs,” said Otto Silzer, Lions chair.

“A brilliant light show seems appropriate.”

About Kayla Stockton 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Kayla Stockton worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.