Sarah Van Grinsven

River Lights, Canadian Tire team for Holiday House Tours

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The River Lights Winter Festival kicks off this Saturday and the Holiday House Tours follow Nov. 25-26.

To help celebrate the latter, a local business has teamed with River Lights’ Holiday House Tour committee to aid in the presentation of the homes.

Volunteers from the Holiday House Tours were at the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg last Wednesday afternoon decorating three Christmas trees that will be displayed in the Sandwich St. S. store. River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven said that River Lights receives a donation in return for the tree decorations.

The fifth annual Holiday House Tour will see professional decorators showcasing their talent in nine locations including extravagant waterfront properties, to designated heritage sites, and grand country homes.

“With the donation from Canadian Tire, we decorate the homes with Canadian Tire products,” said Van Grinsven.

The Holiday House Tour
committee, which is part of the River Lights Winter Festival, was at Canadian Tire last Wednesday afternoon decorating Christmas trees that will be used in the store. In exchange for decorating the trees, Canadian Tire made a donation towards the Nov. 25-26 Holiday House Tours. Canadian Tire’s Stephen and Paige Pike and Scott Miller joined committee members Sarah Van Grinsven, Jen Ibrahim, Michelle Lecours, Corine Jones, Elizabeth Davidson and Carla Lauzon Abson.

Included in the $25 ticket price is tea service, a holiday craft sale and, new this year, a Christmas Tree Dress Exhibit.  The Christmas Tree Dress Exhibit will showcase eight individually designed creations, each made from spruce, pine, or fir and holiday décor.

“It’s fashion with a twist and cannot be missed,” Van Grinsven stated.

Tickets are being sold at Sobeys in Amherstburg, Country Bliss, Dusty Loft Antique and Collectibles, Windsor Crossings Premium Outlets, online at riverlights.ca as well as the Gordon House, the latter being located at 268 Dalhousie St.

Stephen and Paige Pike, owners of the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg, said they are happy to be involved.

“River Lights is a great community event we wholeheartedly support,” said Paige. “Sarah and her volunteers do a great job.”

Paige added that it is a “win-win” for all involved.

For more information on the River Lights Winter Festival, call 519-736-4642, visit www.riverlights.ca or e-mail riverlights@mdirect.net.

River Lights says thanks to Park House with donation

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Park House Museum has been an active partner in this year’s River Lights Winter Festival and the latter is now saying thanks.

River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven presented a cheque for $500 to Park House curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak last Friday morning. Van Grinsven explained the donation was due to the fact the Park House has worked with River Lights on such events as the Holiday House Tours.

“Every year, the house tours committee chooses a community based organization,” said Van Grinsven. “We choose an association that could benefit from the exposure.”

With three other homes on the Holiday House Tours being in the vicinity of the Park House Museum, the museum was chosen to be the “tea room” on this year’s tour.

River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven (left) presents a $500 cheque to Park House Museum curator Sarah Van Grinsven.

River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven (left) presents a $500 cheque to Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak.

“This year, we chose the Park House, which was perfect,” said Van Grinsven.

Pouget-Papak said the money will be put back into the programming the Park House Museum offers. They currently still offer a Victorian Christmas exhibit with students that pass through the museum getting lessons from the Ontario curriculum, she added. A fur trade exhibit is planned for the spring, Pouget-Papak added.

The River Lights’ Gingerbread Warming House closes for the season this Sunday and Van Grinsven said the snow on the ground makes it a better experience.

“The lights look extra fabulous when snow is on the ground,” she said. “We want people to take advantage of it.”
The Park House closes for the season Dec. 21 though is open by appointment in January and February.

“Working with River Lights has been great,” said Pouget-Papak. “We’re building partnerships to make our community stronger.”

Van Grinsven agreed that the partnership has been a good one, adding the Park House was also a part of River Lights’ “Downtown Holiday Nights” at the beginning of this year’s festival.

River Lights officially open for tenth anniversary year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

For the tenth consecutive year, Amherstburg is shining thanks to the River Lights Winter Festival.

The River Lights Winter Festival started Friday with the “Downtown Winter Nights” event that featured a scavenger hunt at local businesses, ice sculpting, horse-and-buggy rides, a downtown market and more and spilled over into Saturday night when the Super Santa Run, tree lighting and fireworks were held.

A group of carolers entertain near the Navy Yard Park parkette Nov. 18.

A group of carolers entertain near the Navy Yard Park parkette Nov. 18.

“This is River Lights tenth year. We are so excited,” said River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven.

Van Grinsven was happy to see the large turnout for Saturday night’s tree lighting ceremony as was Ian MacRobbie, general manager of Enbridge. Enbridge, who developed the Amherstburg Solar Farm, is the presenting sponsor of River Lights for the third straight year. He noted the lights are solar powered.

Ruthanne and Melissa Vuk were volunteering at the Park House Museum during the opening of River Lights.

Ruthanne and Melissa Vuk were volunteering at the Park House Museum during the opening of River Lights.

“It’s a great fit for us,” said MacRobbie, noting it is a Top 100 festival in Ontario.

Nicole Fogarty from Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) believed River Lights provides a “perfect holiday setting” in Amherstburg. She pointed out that events like River Lights take more than just great ideas, but people who “roll up their sleeves” and put the work in to make it happen.

The fountain in the King's Navy Yard Park parkette is lit up this year for River Lights.

The fountain in the King’s Navy Yard Park parkette is lit up this year for River Lights.

The Great Grocery Giveaway winner was also announced. That partnership between The House Youth Centre and Sobeys raised $10,000 for the House. Activities co-ordinator Rebecca Vander Vaart announced that Gail Cecile won the top prize.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo also pointed out that 2016 is the tenth anniversary of River Lights.

“That’s just awesome,” he said.

Town crier Frank Gorham welcomes the public to the tree lighting ceremony Nov. 19.

Town crier Frank Gorham welcomes the public to the tree lighting ceremony Nov. 19.

DiCarlo thanked Enbridge and all of the sponsors and supporters of the festival. He also pointed out the partnership between River Lights organizers and town departments to ensure the lights and activities get set up.

“Thanks for making Amherstburg shine,” said DiCarlo.

River Lights Winter Festival starts this weekend

Special to the RTT

Ten years and the River Lights Winter Festival is shining brighter than ever!

Opening ceremonies will kick off with wonder and wishes for a prosperous, peaceful and mindful holiday season at the historic towne square in downtown Amherstburg.

A new commemorative display adorning the fountain is installed for the tenth year anniversary.  A larger than life Frosty visits during Saturday’s outdoor, classical movie “Frosty the Snowman” encouraging visitors and residents to make their 2016 wishes at this magical scenery. The ERCA Super Santa Run at 5 p.m. preludes the popular tree lighting count down at 6 p.m. followed by fireworks along the Detroit River.

riverlightslogo

Partnering with Anderdon Public School marching band, Walkerville and General Amherst High School arts students add youth and spark to the program. Snap a family picture at the new Victorian photo mural or with the hilarious stilt guys where kids of all ages will undoubtedly be in for a treat.

“But that’s not all! The beautifully handcrafted gingerbread houses on display at the Gingerbread Warming House at Toddy Jones Park are an attraction in of itself”, says Sarah Van Grinsven. “Amherstburg is one of those places that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a Christmas card from the past, and the 10th year celebration will be very special,” she adds.

For more information, visit www.riverlights.ca or like them on Facebook.com/RiverLightsConnection

“Decorating Divas” team with Canadian Tire

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

For the third consecutive year, the River Lights “Decorating Divas” were at Canadian Tire making things more festive.

The Divas decorated three trees this year at the store with River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven pointing out it is done in conjunction with the Holiday House Tours, one of the events that is part of the River Lights Winter Festival.

In return for decorating the Christmas trees, Canadian Tire makes a donation to the Holiday House Tours, she added.

“We, in turn, decorate a home for the house tours with Canadian Tire products,” she added.

The River Lights “Decorating Divas” joined Canadian Tire staff in decorating three trees at the store last Monday. The Holiday House Tours are coming Dec. 3-4 and one of the ten homes will be decorated with items all found at Canadian Tire in Amherstburg.

The River Lights “Decorating Divas” joined Canadian Tire staff in decorating three trees at the store last Monday. The Holiday House Tours are coming Dec. 3-4 and one of the ten homes will be decorated with items all found at Canadian Tire in Amherstburg.

The River Lights Holiday House Tours are Dec. 3-4 from 1-6 p.m. each day. Van Grinsven said tickets are $25 and on sale at the Gordon House, Sobeys, Pied-A-Terre, the Village Shop and Park House Museum. There will be ten stops on the tour this year with mainland waterfront properties being the focus.

River Lights gets underway this weekend with the Downtown Holiday Nights starting Friday night and the tree lighting Saturday night. The latter follows the Super Santa Run, which starts at 5 p.m. on downtown streets.

For more information on the Holiday House Tours or River Lights in general, call 519-736-4642 or visit www.riverlights.ca.