Festival of Lights arrives next week

Festival of Lights, one of Stettler's biggest annual events in the run up to the Christmas season begins next week, on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Festival of Lights, one of Stettler’s biggest annual events in the run up to the Christmas season begins next week, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and runs through to Saturday, Nov. 28.

“Our entire committee does this because of our desire to help the community, and I have to say, in reality we know we only facilitate this event, it is the community which rises to the occasion by donating, creating, sponsoring and attending the events to support our fundraising efforts,” organizer Sue Peterson said.

“We sincerely appreciate the support of the community and know that together we can save lives,” added Peterson.

The main objective of this annual event, held just before Christmas is to raise money for the Stettler Hospital.

“The festival operates under the umbrella of the Hospital Foundation and is only one of several annual events which focuses on fundraising,” said Peterson. “Funds raised this year go to the ongoing OR and ER upgrades; the upgraded surgical suite will enable the hospital to attract out-of-town surgeons to do elective surgeries, which means families won’t have to travel to larger centres to get treatment because the required equipment has been funded through our fundraising efforts.”

Speaking of some of her best memories, Peterson said, “My fondest memories are of the early years when we used to set up the festival in the atrium of the hospital.”

“Set-up day was always fun with patients and staff wandering in to see the beautiful donations,” added Peterson. “The atrium is a small space and we filled it to the limit with the beautiful trees, wreaths and garlands which had been donated, and our festival ran for 10 days at that time, with a silent auction on all of the donated items.”

Peterson has worked with her team to bring to the town some variations.

“Within the tried and true format of our festival week we will be offering many new attractions, such as the live band, The Dirt Road Angels, at our gala finale, the gingerbread contest, a part of the Children’s Wonderland event and admission for this is $5,” said Peterson. “We will have six new vendors in the market this year so there will be a new mix of items for sale.”

Bids in the week-long silent auction close at one in the afternoon on Friday, Nov. 27.

Daily admission to the hall will be by donation with donations also being accepted for the Food Bank.