Holiday at Highstreet

The Christmas event kicks off Nov. 30, also marking the new facility's grand opening

Excitement is building for what organizers are striving to make the stand-out Christmas event in Abbotsford this year.

The recently completed Highstreet shopping centre is located on Mt. Lehman Road just off Highway 1, and the 600,000-sq.ft. open-air shopping centre is aiming to wow everyone with their Christmas celebration, Holiday at Highstreet, and official grand opening, kicking off on Nov. 30.

“Part of our thinking was let’s do some signature events really, really well,” said Darren Kwiatkowski, executive vice-president of Shape Properties, the development company which built Highstreet.

Attention to detail is key for Highstreet, and one of the event organizers, marketing director Tanya Curtis, said a small team of about five people has been working to ensure every point is perfect.

One of the key features will be a 65-foot Christmas tree – similar to the one erected annually in New York’s Rockefeller Center –  complete with 6,000 LED lights capable of putting on a light show. The inaugural lighting will happen Nov. 30 at 5 p.m., complete with a parade around the upper podium deck, showcasing Santa Claus brought in on a horse-drawn carriage, an 80-piece marching band, and snow-making machines.

Santa Claus’ suit has been crafted by the same artist who created the suit for Tim Allen in the 1994 movie The Santa Clause, along with richly detailed buttons and custom-made leather boots.

Santa will be available to hear children’s Christmas wishes from within the cozy confines of a giant, oversized Christmas present.

“Everyone can have their own moment with Santa,” said Curtis.

And there will be no line-ups either, said Kwiatkowski. A smartphone application has been created that will allow you to set up a time for your visit, and it will alert you when Santa is ready.

Curtis said this will be a month-long event, with the parade and light show happening every Saturday at 3 and 5 p.m. leading up to Christmas.

“We’ve partnered with those who’ve put on huge events,” said Kwiatkowski, such as the Squamish Music Festival and Vancouver’s Celebration of Light.

“People won’t be disappointed,” he said. “This event will live up to the hype.”