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Democrat & Chronicle
November 2011

Five Ways to Light up your Holidays


            Get into the spirit of the holiday season by visiting one of these unique holiday light displays in our region. Some are best seen from your car, while others can only be appreciated on foot. Some charge a fee, while others are absolutely free to enjoy.


1. Winter Festival of Lights. November 5, 2011 to January 31, 2012. Niagara Falls, Admission is free to view lights, however, some events and activities may charge a fee; see website for specifics.

            The 29th annual Winter Festival of Lights, in Niagara Falls, Canada, is one of the premier light events in Canada. This light display features 3 million lights along a 5km route, including 125 animated light displays, like the Enchantment of Disney.

            One of the festival’s unique attractions is the Rink at the Brink, an open-air ice skating facility adjacent to the brink of the Horseshoe Falls. The rink is open December 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012.

            Note: To cross the border, an enhanced license, passport, or nexus card is required for people age 16 and above. Children under 16 must have a certified copy of their birth certificate.


2. Holiday Lights of Niagara, November 23 to December. 31, 5-10 pm, Hyde Park (US 62 and

Robbins Drive
) and various locations throughout Niagara Falls, Free admission.

            Holiday Lights of Niagara originally began in 2004 as a fund raiser for the

United Way
of Niagara. Money is currently raised through sponsorships, rather than paid admission, so the public can enjoy the lights for free. There are 50 lighted displays in Hyde Park, along with close to a dozen additional displays scattered throughout the city of Niagara Falls. Opening ceremonies will take place on November 23 at 5:00 pm in Hyde Park.


3. Fairgrounds Festival of Lights, November 25-27; and select dates between Dec. 2-Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24-25) 5:30-9:30 pm, The Fairgrounds,

5600 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg  Admission charged by car; a portion of each carload admission will benefit Variety-the children’s charity of Buffalo and Western New York.

             This event is designed so that visitors can drive along a nearly two-mile long route which features over 200 displays. Afterwards, park your car and go inside to take a walk through the North Pole Village, enjoy refreshments, and watch holiday shows, like Kandy Kane, the world’s largest elf, putting on a magic show.


4. Our Lady of Fatima Shrine Festival of Lights. November 19, 2011 to January 8, 2012. Daily 5-9 pm. Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, 1023 Swann Road, Lewiston,   716-754-7489, Free Admission.

            Enjoy the true meaning of the Christmas season by visiting the Festival of Lights at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston. This festival features over 75 religious themed light displays, including a giant nativity scene with a 9 foot tall angel looking over the Holy Family. All of the displays have been designed by the shrine’s director, Father Julio Ciavaglia, and built by the maintenance staff at the shrine.



5. Crystal City Christmas, Corning Gaffer District, 607-937-6292 Free admission.

            Corning, about an hour and a half south of Rochester, celebrates the holiday season in a big way each year.

            The Centerway Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights, November 26, officially kicks off the holiday season. It starts with entertainment from 4-6pm, followed by a tree lighting ceremony at 6pm. Then at 6:30pm, the traditional Parade of Lights takes place, where all participants are covered in sparkling lights.

            The 37th annual Sparkle takes place on December 3rd from 5-9pm. This event features carriage rides, shopping and dining promotions, family activities, food, crafts, carolers, and of course, a visit with Santa in his crystal house.