One-Tank Trip for Dec. 17/16
(c) By Jim Fox
Let there be lights – millions of them ablaze in cities and towns casting a festive glow at this time of year.
There’s the Niagara Winter Festival of Lights, Bingemans’ Gift of Lights in Kitchener, Amherstburg’s River Lights, Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village and Simcoe’s Christmas Panorama to name a few.
|Fireworks light up the night sky over Niagara Falls.|
Called “Canada’s foremost illumination festival,” Niagara Falls says it “captures the magic of the holiday season” now through Jan. 31.
More than one-million people view the eight-kilometre “illumination route” through the Niagara Parks, Dufferin Islands and into the surrounding tourist areas around the falls.
There are millions of sparkling lights and animated displays including a huge Canadian-U.S. flag, Skylon Tower, Zimmerman Fountain, Canadian wildlife sculptures and Religions of the World themes.
The illumination of the power generating station has a choreographed sound and light show with an interactive display of reindeers leading Santa’s sleigh and there’s a 3-D show on the facade of the Oakes Hotel.
|A $4-million upgrade provides more robust lighting of the Horseshoe and American falls.|
There are also fireworks over the falls every Friday at 9 p.m. through Jan. 27 and nightly shows from Dec. 24 to 31. wfol.com; (905) 374-1616
The free New Year’s Eve party in Queen Victoria Park features musical performances by the Sam Roberts Band, High Valley and Serena Ryder.
It kicks off at 8 p.m. with local band James Blonde. niagaraparks.com/niagara-falls-events
Lighting up the season
Bingemans amusement park and campground in Kitchener has launched the Gift of Lights, an illuminated two-kilometre drive through the grounds.
|A tunnel of lights is one of the illumination attractions at Bingemans in Kitchener.|
There are more than 30 static and animated displays with one-million twinkling lights including a huge drive-through light tunnel as the “stunning conclusion.”
The display recently opened to “rave reviews,” said president Mark Bingeman.
Highlighting the drive are Christmas classic songs being played on Gift of Lights radio at 100.1 FM, he added.
The event is open daily from 5 p.m. until Jan. 7 and costs $20 a car. bingemans.com
- The River Lights Winter Festival continues through Dec. 30 in Amherstburg with hundreds of light displays and events.
They are at Toddy Jones Park, where there’s also the Gingerbread Warming House, Navy Yard Park and along Dalhousie Street, shining brightly from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. riverlights.ca; (519) 736-4642.
- Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, adjoining the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich., this immerses visitors in 300 years of holiday history.
|Rides in a Model T are part of the Holiday Nights attraction at Greenfield Village. (Jim Fox photo)|
The event at the historic village is called a “lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season.”
This “Christmas card from the past” includes the sound of carollers, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagons and Model T rides, plus Santa with live reindeer” capped off by fireworks.
|Carollers are in the spirit of the season at Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. (Barbara Fox photo)|
It takes place today and Sunday (Dec. 17 and 18), Dec. 20-23 and 26-30 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets and information: thehenryford.org; (313) 982-6001.
- The Simcoe Christmas Panorama is going strong after 58 years as the original light festival in Ontario.
The Norfolk County town near Lake Erie creates a winter wonderland yearly by volunteers with more than 60 displays and thousands of lights.
Displays must have religious, traditional or fantasy themes and many are three-dimensional structures that “remind you of the department store windows of days long ago.”
The lights are on nightly through Jan. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. simcoepanorama.ca; 1-800-338-0273
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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