Suzanne Shea

River Lights Winter Festival illuminates the town

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The heart of downtown Amherstburg will continue to shine throughout the holiday season.

The 12th annual River Lights Festival was officially kicked off Saturday night with the lights of the town bringing smiles to hundreds of people. The festival lights, which are lit nightly from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. are located at the historical King’s Navy Yard and Toddy Jones Park.

The River Lights Winter Festival officially opened with the municipal tree lighting Nov. 17.

The River Lights once again partnered with the Essex Region Conservation Foundation’s Super Santa Run. Following the 5km race/walk, hundreds of Santas, families and friends gathered around Navy Yard parkette for the commodious tree lighting. The festival also encouraged all to explore the lights, decorate cookies and enjoy fireworks over the Detroit River.

River Lights was once again sponsored by Enbridge for the fifth year in a row. Enbridge supplies renewable power to nearly 2,400 homes in the region with its 15-megawatt Amherstburg solar facility.

According to Suzanne Shea, a representative for Enbridge, River Lights gets a little brighter every year.

The River Lights Winter Festival officially opened Nov. 17.

“Nothing kicks off the holiday for me like River Lights,” said Shea. “I’m not even from here but I come here every year to celebrate.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was on hand for the event to help with the tree lighting. DiCarlo said the municipal tree lighting ceremony is a night to ring in the holidays, celebrating love, gratitude, and friendships.

DiCarlo added the River Lights committee, which helped brighten the town for the past 12 years, has worked tirelessly to beautify King’s Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park with what only can be described as an outstanding program.

The River Lights Winter Festival, which opened Nov. 17, has illuminated displays in both Navy Yard Park (pictured) and Toddy Jones Park.

“These volunteers bring their passion and pride to this event,” said DiCarlo. “Year after year they’re responsible for putting smiles on faces for thousands of people who have made River Lights a yearly tradition.”

The downtown streets and historic parks of Amherstburg will stay lit until Jan. 6 when the six-week long festival comes to an end.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo brings greetings at the municipal tree lighting ceremony Nov. 17.

For more information on the River Lights Winter Festival and the upcoming events, please visit www.riverlights.ca.

 

 

 

Enbridge steps up with annual donation towards River Lights

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Enbridge will once again be the presenting sponsor of the River Lights Winter Festival.

An official cheque presentation was held outside the Gordon House where the renewable energy company presented a cheque for $15,000.

“This will be Enbridge’s fifth year sponsoring the exceptional programs and some of the light

displays at the River Lights Winter Festival,” says Suzanne Shea, communications and

stakeholder relations senior advisor of power operations with Enbridge. “We are proud to have the opportunity to continue to partner with the town and share in the holiday spirit with the Amherstburg community.”

Shea told the River Town Times last Tuesday that they continue to sponsor River Lights “to celebrate the holiday season with the community and strengthen our partnership with the town.”

According to a press release, Enbridge supplies renewable power to nearly 2,400 homes in the region, thanks to its 15-megawatt Amherstburg solar facility.

Suzanne Shea, communications and stakeholder relations senior advisor of power operations with Enbridge, presents a cheque for $15,000 to Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale. Enbridge is once again sponsoring the River Lights
Winter Festival with the municipal tree lighting ceremony being Nov. 17.

“With Enbridge’s generous support, we are proud to continue the unique festival programming

our town has come to know and love. Old world charm in our vibrant community, with our

dazzling light displays, is the signature backdrop for historic Amherstburg during this event,” Mayor Aldo Di Carlo said in the press release.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale said he appreciated the generosity and the fact companies like Enbridge step up and sponsor events like River Lights.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said DiPasquale.

The six -week long festival kicks off with the municipal tree lighting ceremony Nov. 17. Sarah Van Grinsven, the town’s special events co-ordinator, said the proceeds from the Enbridge sponsorship go towards making River Lights bigger and brighter. The money, Van Grinsven noted, will help offset some of the costs of opening night.

The Town of Amherstburg made the River Lights Winter Festival an official town event earlier this year.

Van Grinsven said roughly 6-8,000 people attend the opening ceremonies for the River Lights Winter Festival with about 30,000 coming to the event overall.

“We’ve become a family tradition,” said Van Grinsven.

 

River Lights Winter Festival partners again with Enbridge

River Lights Winter Festival has received support from Enbridge again this year, with this year’s sponsorship amounting to $15,000.

“This is our eleventh year of the River Lights Winter Festival and the fourth year that Enbridge has supported the winter events. With Enbridge’s sponsorship we are able to continue to boost programming and light up our town with the beautiful light displays which have become a signature backdrop in historic Amherstburg,” says Mark Usher, long time committee member of the River Lights Winter Festival.

The event kicks off Nov. 18 with the town’s tree lighting ceremony and the opening night of River Lights. A movie, fireworks and activities from the Park House Museum and Provincial Marine are planned.

“It’s going to be better than last year,” said Usher.

“Enbridge is one of Canada’s largest renewable energy companies and we are proud to help support the solar powered displays at the River Lights Winter Festival,” says Ian MacRobbie, Enbridge’s Eastern Region General Manager, Power Operations. “As the owner of the 15 megawatt Amherstburg solar facility – which generates enough power to supply nearly 2,400 homes – this partnership is a natural fit for our company and we look forward to sharing the holiday spirit with the Amherstburg community once again this winter.”

River Lights board members and volunteers accept a $15,000 from Suzanne Shea (far left) of Enbridge. Enbridge is the primary sponsor of River Lights again this year.

River Lights board members and volunteers accept a $15,000 from Suzanne Shea (far left) of Enbridge. Enbridge is the primary sponsor of River Lights again this year.

Suzanne Shea represented the company at a cheque presentation last Wednesday at the Gordon House and called River Lights “a great event.” She said she came with her six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son to the event and plan on driving in again this year.

“It was exciting,” she said. “All of the lights are solar powered which fits in with our theme.”

The six week-long festival includes the hundreds of solar-powered custom made light displays, the life size Gingerbread Warming House showcasing the annual Gingerbread House Contest and free crafts and hot chocolate. The program runs until Dec. 31. Animated and themed solar powered displays begin to illuminate starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. every night at the Kings Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park.

Approximately 6,000 people attended opening night last year, with the events preceded by the Essex Region Conservation Foundation’s “Super Santa Run.” Overall, River Lights organizers estimate 25,000 people pass through the festival.