River Lights Winter Festival opens for seventh year


River Lights1 River Lights2By Ron Giofu


The River Lights Winter Festival opened with a bang Saturday night.

In fact, thanks to the fireworks, the festival opened with several bangs.

The official opening, which also included the municipal tree lighting ceremony and a children’s movie, took place in the Navy Yard Park. Karen Gyorgy, River Lights administrator, noted the many volunteers and sponsors it took to get the festival off the ground.

Gyorgy praised presenting sponsor Scotiabank as well as all the other sponsors. She noted the work of the volunteer committee as well.

“It takes a lot of people to put this together,” she said.

There are ten new illuminated displays this year, she added. Amherstburg resident Dave Varney created most of the 175 illuminated displays that are in Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park.

“He’s truly an artist,” said Gyorgy.

Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce president Ray Bezaire also noted the volunteers and sponsors are a big part of getting River Lights off the ground each year.

“The Chamber would like to thank the River Lights committee for an amazing festival,” said Bezaire.

Joe Carlini from Scotiabank also offered his best wishes to the large crowds that packed the parkette Saturday night.

“Karen and her team put a lot of hard work in to put together something like this,” said Carlini.

Mayor Wayne Hurst credited the crowd for making the festival what it has become.

“We want to thank each and every one of you. Without you coming out, this could not be a success,” the mayor told the crowd.

Gyorgy said the partnering with the town has been a good experience and that the festival is a result of similar partnerships with others in the town.

“It is a true team effort from the whole community,” said Gyorgy.

Saturday night was the first of 44 days the festival is officially on for. The Gingerbread Warming House, located in Toddy Jones Park, is open 5:30-8:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 22. For a list of events or for more information, contact the River Lights office at 519-736-4642, e-mail riverlights@mdirect.net or visit www.riverlights.ca.

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