winter 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

Enbridge returns as River Lights presenting sponsor

 

River Lights Winter Festival is continuing to shine and improve on their festivities thanks to a generous community investment from Enbridge’s Amherstburg Solar Farm.

“This is our tenth year of the River Lights Winter Festival and the third year that Enbridge has stepped up and supported the winter events,” said River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven. “With Enbridge’s sponsorship we will be able to boost programming and continue to light up our town with the beautiful light displays which have become a signature backdrop in historic Amherstburg.”

The River Lights Winter Festival received a $15,000 donation from Enbridge Wednesday morning. This is the third year Enbridge has become a presenting sponsor. They give the donation early to assist with the planning of the event. From left: River Lights committee members Mark & Karen Usher, Enbridge community engagement advisor Suzanne Shea, Enbridge GM Ian MacRobbie, River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven and River Lights committee member Norm Ross.

The River Lights Winter Festival received a $15,000 donation from Enbridge Wednesday morning. This is the third year Enbridge has become a presenting sponsor. They give the donation early to assist with the planning of the event. From left: River Lights committee members Mark & Karen Usher, Enbridge community engagement advisor Suzanne Shea, Enbridge GM Ian MacRobbie, River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven and River Lights committee member Norm Ross.

“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, Green Power & Transmission. “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.”

MacRobbie added Enbridge is “happy to help once again” and that the company’s background includes sponsorship of the Roots to Boots and Sails to See festivals. MacRobbie said tourism officials were consulted as to where they could help next and River Lights was suggested.

“This has been a great fit for us,” said MacRobbie.

This year’s River Lights program will begin with a new adult evening “Downtown Holiday Night” Nov. 18 followed with the traditional municipal tree lighting ceremony Nov. 19. The program runs until Dec. 31. Animated and themed solar powered displays begin to illuminate starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. every night of the festival at the King’s Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park.