WATCH: An iconic Vancouver Island event was getting underway in Ladysmith Thursday night. This will be the 30th Ladysmith Festival of Lights. Twenty-thousand people are now converging on the small seaside community to take it all in and CHEK News reporter Skye Ryan is there.
The magic of Christmas has come to Ladysmith.
On Thursday, volunteers were rushing stringing lights as they prepared for approximately 20,000 visitors who were expected to attend the 30th annual Ladysmith Light Up. The event kicks off the Festival of Lights.
“I think Ladysmith does Christmas better than anywhere I’ve ever been,” Bruce Mason, a Ladysmith resident said.
“It’s just fabulous.”
Bill Fitzpatrick came up with the idea 30 years ago to bring people to Ladysmith’s increasingly quiet downtown. His friends say he never would have foreseen it growing into an annual Christmas season spectacle.
Fitzpatrick passed away four months ago, but his legacy continues this year. Economically, the Ladysmith Light Up and the six-week Festival of Lights is the biggest boom for the small town’s businesses.
“The wonderful thing about Ladysmith and what’s going on here is we’re into the third generation of people who have been coming down to the festival since the inception 30 years ago,” Greg Edwards, a Festival of Lights volunteer.