A community favorite Celebration of Lights is coming back for its 15th annual year. 

Hosted by the Strathmore Ag Society, the festival is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate the season with family and friends. This year, it will be starting on November 26 and will run until January 7 every night from 6:00-9:00 PM. 

Even though Halloween still hasn't happened yet, it's already time to start thinking about setting up the event. General Manager of the Ag Society Ryan Schmidt said the time to set up is right around the corner, and volunteer help is needed.

"We are looking for volunteers, especially for the setup. That will be happening in the first two weeks of November. Starting November 1 to 4 and then 7 to 11 each day during the day, we're going to be doing the setup during those two weeks. We're going to get the whole park set up, so we'd love to have people come out and help," he said.

Setting up such a big show takes a lot of effort, so Schmidt is hoping a lot of people are able to volunteer. Since the event is non-profit, any help during the event itself is also appreciated!

"The more the merrier. In those two weeks, we'll set everything up with everybody involved.  We have dozens of volunteers who come out and help out throughout the celebration lights, so we're also looking for volunteers to actually man the park and Santa's Cottage during the Celebration of Lights itself."

The celebration is all about community; on top of the volunteers that make the event run, Schmidt added it wouldn't be possible without the sponsors and donations as well. Despite how much time and money it takes to host such a large event, Schmidt said the Ag Society is happy to run the event every year.

"It's part of our mission to help bring the community together and help people to celebrate. Our second biggest event after Stampede is actually the Celebration of Lights and for us, it's about drawing the community together, helping people celebrate, and building communities. That's what drives us, but we couldn't do it without the tremendous sponsors and support we get from businesses in town, and all the volunteers that come up to help."

This celebration was able to run every year even during covid, but one aspect that had to be shut down was the Kids' New Year's Eve Party. This year, Schmidt is really happy to bring this event back.  He said there are usually hundreds of kids that come to this party, and tickets sell out fast.  They'll be available starting November 26rh.

Overall, the event usually costs around $30 000 a year, but the sponsor and donations are able to help the Ag Society break even on their cost, so they can continue to bring it back every year. November 26th will feature the big opening night celebrations, so Schmidt hopes to see a ton of people enjoy the park light up for the first time this year.

To join in the effort to put on another amazing event, please contact Karri at 403-934-0271 or karrig1@hotmail.ca.


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