While the weather may not have been ideal, Williams Lake still came together to enjoy the Winter Lights Festival this Saturday.
Held each year to showcase all that the downtown of Williams Lake has to offer, the Winter Lights Festival tends to be a popular event for the entire community. This year, however, a persistent snowfall throughout the day made the streets and roads slick and slushy that seemed to keep many people indoors.
Despite this, the volunteers of Downtown Williams Lake and their associated businesses came together to hold a fun event for the whole community. Several businesses held fun Christmas themed family activities that dozens took part in prior to the Winter Lights Parade, or Santa Parade as it’s also known.
Overall, while there were definitely some challenges getting the parade together, Downtown Williams Lake’s executive director Jordan Davis and events co-ordinator Jasmine Alexander said they felt the event was a success. Davis said they were very excited by how the event had gone, especially by their inaugural tree lighting in the Downtown Williams Lake parking lot, an idea that came from volunteers Shay and Lee Dahl.
“We had an amazing time today, lots of businesses doing family activities, we had Starbucks here in our parking lot doing free hot chocolate and cake pops, we had Mint and Lime doing cupcakes,” Davis said. “Lots of people hanging out even though the weather is not great today, we were a little bit worried about people not coming down but lots of people came down here to watch the parade.”
Davis said that they feel grateful by how things turned out and that Community Policing assisted them in setting up the parade route’s barricades. Alexander said that this year they really saw volunteers shine and really step up their game.
“I got to walk around and see a lot of interaction and people networking,” Alexander said. “I think Williams Lake continues to love this event and is willing to brave slippery roads to make it happen.”
In the future, she said they plan to make the tree lighting become a bigger event and promote an overall increase in creativity across the board. Alexander said they did have to evaluate the longevity of the parade this year but thankfully people came in at the “last second” to make it happen. She hopes that next year this last-ditch effort will not be required and that everything will run smoother.
“I think the big thing with the parade is that it’s such a community favourite but it only happens with the engagement of floats. I think this is just a reminder this year that community favourites only happen with engagement, a parade isn’t just fun it also functions as promotion for your organization. We’d love to see some new faces next year in the Santa parade,” Alexander said.
Both Alexander and Davis want to wish all of Williams lake happy holidays and encourages them to shop local and sustainable this year.