Pandemic will shrink annual Lions Festival of Lights this year

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The Lions Festival of Lights, which usually spreads through Confederation Park golf course over the holidays, will be a shadow of its former self this year.

In order to discourage big crowds, the only things lit up will be the light standards along 14th Street in the northwest.

Normally, Confederation Park in the northwest is illuminated with around 650,000 light exhibits. A fireworks show and opening night celebrations will not be happening.

Organizer Otto Silzer said he was worried a full-scale effort would be a COVID-19 super spreader event.

He says it was a very hard decision to make but so far the feedback from Calgarians has been positive. "We can't attract the crowds, we can't have the lower displays where the kids can come in and play around with all the lights and that sort of stuff, we can't get that exposure and they're very understanding once they get that explanation," said Silzer.

He said the organizers struggled with how exactly they should proceed this year.

"We had to do a lot of soul searching," he said. "We had a very heated discussion in July over this and sorry to say that we are just at odds, as the committee is split whether or not we should do anything or whether we should do a minimal display."

The event usually draws about 60 thousand visitors a day. It will run from November 28 to January 8.