Throughout the 22-year history of the lighting of the Christmas tree in Abbotsford, the lights could have been more impressive, according to Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association.
Prepare to be impressed this year.
“People will be shocked with the new lighting system.”
At an investment of $15,000, Stewart was quick to point out who is footing the bill.
“People always think it’s the city that puts this on,” says Stewart, “but the whole event is compliments of the historic downtown merchants.
“In the last eight to nine years … we’ve worked on the older buildings, prettying them up to make it a shopping destination.
“Now people can grab a cup of coffee and walk around. There are so many boutiques and treasures here, all these great shops with things you’d never find in a mall.”
The event kicks off at 1 p.m. with young musicians from the Sound of Music school on the main stage, followed by Aerial the Elephant, from Aerial Dance Academy. Brook Harris and select singers from Darcy D Vocal Studio will then lead into a performance by Dynamic Dance.
At 3 p.m., Santa will arrive on a 1963 fire truck, accompanied by members of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service, the Abbotsford Police Department and the Silver Fox Air Cadet band.
Mayor-elect Bruce Banman will be on hand to join in a Christmas carol sing-along with A & D Music School from 3:40 p.m. until just before the main attraction. Shortly before 5 p.m., a countdown will herald the lighting of the 80-foot tree.
In addition to free hot chocolate and cookies, a variety of food vendors, make-and-take crafts for children waiting in line to see Santa, and Christmas-themed booths, Stewart promises a number of surprises.
The Christmas tree lighting will take place at the intersection of Essendene Avenue and West Railway Street, Sunday, Dec. 4 from 1-5 p.m.