Organizers are excited to see plans for the annual Festival of Lights celebration and fundraiser coming together.
The sparkling annual event, which takes place at the Stettler Community Hall and raises funds in support of patient care at the Stettler Hospital, runs Nov. 26th to Nov. 28th.
And while things are looking a bit different this year due to the pandemic, there is still plenty for residents to come out and enjoy, said Amy Roberts, chairperson for the Stettler Festival of Lights committee.
“We are still going to have the silent auction in the Stettler Community Hall, and there will be the market again in the hall as well,” she explained, plus several raffles.
“We have such a great committee – when something like this (the pandemic) gets thrown at us, we have so many creative ideas that come out and we adapt so well,” she said. “One of our events that we have, for example, is ‘Art and Cheer’. This year, we are doing Art and Cheer Home Edition, so we have approached both of the flower shops in Stettler as well as the art studio, and so for each of the three days of the Festival of Lights (Nov. 26th-28th), we will have a different project,” she said.
“There will be a deadline for when you have to pay for your ticket, and then you will come to the hall the day before, and pick up your package with the supplies (for the various projects).”
Participants will then take the supplies home, and add to the fun by making a little gathering out of it, too, she said.
“We will send the YouTube link out at 7 p.m. on those nights,” she said, adding that the hosts for that particular evening will guide viewers through the creation of the given project.
“People really loved that event, and it’s one that we can still do,” she said.
This year, funds raised will go to support the emergency room equipment upgrades, said Roberts, who has been involved with the Festival of Lights for nine years now. This year marks her third as chair of the event.
“We have the emergency room upgrades happening right now – the renovations,” she explained. “So our funds will go to the equipment upgrades. Our goal is to raise $50,000, but I would not be one bit surprised if we surpassed that because there are (already) so many donations coming in,” she said. “We were getting calls from people saying, ‘When are sending your letters out? We put you in our budget in February?’” she said, adding that it’s all a testament to the extraordinary generosity of the community at large which shines through time and again.
Over the past 22 years, the Festival of Lights has raised more than $1,155,000.
Meanwhile, organizers are also looking for vendors for the aformentioned Festival of Lights Market.
Suggested vendor items run the gamut from honey, wood signs and crafts, masks, elegant baking and chocolate goodies to flower arrangements, wooden games, cutting boards, Christmas decorations, quilting and doughnuts.
Another highlight this year are sleighrides and burgers (A&W coupon) on Nov. 26th and 27th from 3 to 9 p.m. and Nov. 28th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (With thanks to Canalta A&W and Jim Long).
Folks are being asked to pre-book a time on the Festival of Lights Facebook page or by calling 403-740-9696.
Robert said that typically, the annual Festival of Lights is really a well-oiled machine.
“Once we get that hall set up, it just flows. Everyone knows what they are doing. It just takes on a life of its own and before you know it, the week is done! I also think that this year, everyone is also really rising up to the challenge,” she added. “It’s amazing!”
Roberts said that it’s also important to remember that even small purchases make a big difference.
“Not everyone can come and buy a $1,000 auction item, but even when you buy a $2 quilt ticket – that is still going to the hospital and that still helps,” she said.
Ultimately, as Roberts also pointed out, the Festival of Lights kicks off the Christmas season for so many in Stettler.
“We still need to do this for people. In 2020, we’ve missed out on so many things so we really need to do this.”
And for Roberts, it’s simply a joy to be involved with such a fulfilling cause each year.
“I’ve always loved volunteering, and I’m a nurse so it’s a cause that is close to my heart, too,” she said. “Especially this year – I lost my dad this year in March. He had a heart attack.”
Being involved with the Festival, which makes such a critical difference in the community, took on even more meaning in a time of such loss.
“Stettler ambulance was there, and he was brought into the Stettler hospital, and I know that some of the items we have bought in previous years were used on my dad. That just means so much to me.”
For more information, visit the Stettler Festival of Lights’ Facebook page or contact Amy Roberts at 403-740-4740.