Locals are encouraged to kick off the Christmas season this week in Gananoque.
The fun begins on Thursday, as the Town of Gananoque, along with community partners, present the 2022 Gananoque Festival of Lights – the second edition of this festival, featuring a schedule of events to take place over the holiday season.
Organizers of the Festival of Lights say they’ve implemented events and activities that can be enjoyed by families and people of all ages.
Thursday will be all about the Downtown Gananoque BIA Holiday Shopping Event, then on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Town Hall Park will be lit up with the official tree lighting and opening of Candy Cane Lane.
"Town Park will be decorated with candy canes, Christmas trees and some new features this year," said Amanda Trafford, the town's economic development and cultural heritage co-ordinator. "The bandshell and Town Hall will feature some decorations as well. There will be live music, cookies and free hot chocolate and apple cider."
On Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m., the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce will host the Gananoque Santa Claus Parade, featuring festive floats from community groups and businesses and the long-awaited return of Santa Claus. There will also be special feature performances, Makers Studios, an art show and other festive activities at the Thousand Islands Playhouse, including the "How Sweet It Is" Christmas Concert on Dec. 17. The Rotary Club of Gananoque and Gananoque Lions Club will host Santa Days in Town Hall Park with treats and activities planned for the little ones to enjoy while visiting with Santa.
As well, the Royal Theatre will provide carolling along King Street, the Gananoque Skating Club will be performing a show on Dec. 21 and an outdoor public skate with music will take place at the Gord Brown Memorial Canada 150 Outdoor Rink.
The town will also host its annual Winter Lights competition.
Residents are encouraged to decorate their homes for the holiday season. A group of local judges will select a winner from each ward (North, South, and West) and one award will be given to the business with the best window/light display.
The judges will travel through every street in town and winners will be announced Dec. 19 on the town’s Facebook page. Each winner will receive a prize from one of the community’s local businesses.
The public is reminded the town has an interactive online calendar on its website. This contains a list of events to help keep track of all the special events taking place in December. The events calendar will also include other events planned throughout the Christmas season by other businesses and groups.
"We want to make sure that we share all the events possible even if they aren't part of Festival of Lights," said Trafford. "It's about the community as a whole and supporting everyone."
For more information, go to the Festival of Lights Instagram and Facebook accounts.
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times