For 17 nights the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s Lights of Wonder illuminated Centennial square. Attendees came to enjoy not only the lights but also live entertainment and music. Leading up to the event organizers weren’t sure what the public’s response would be, but in the end were pleased with year number one.
“It certainly in terms of numbers greatly exceeded our expectations. We’re still crunching the numbers with the data counters that we had, but we’re looking at tens of thousands of people that made there way to downtown over a 17 day period and we’re really thrilled about that,” said DVBA Executive Director Jeff Bray.
Around 75,000 people are estimated to have walked through the $500, 000 display.
“It really brings life to the square and beauty and it’s a great place to be with a young kid as well as for adults to hang out,” said one smiling attendee.
“I thought I’m going to come down here and lighten myself up…and it’s very sweet,” said another.
And with the increased crowds downtown, businesses reaped the rewards. “There was one night I was going to go see the lights, but I ended up staying here just helping our staff to clean the dishes and help to take care of the customers because we got so busy. And that’s the greatest thing. I really appreciate the DVBA,” said Owner of QV Cafe-Bakery Channing Qian.
While the opening year was seen as an overall success it didn’t come without hiccups. The display was originally supposed to debut on December 13th but was pushed back a week to for technical reasons. And many voiced displeasure that it was not open on Christmas. Organizers have heard the critics and vow to come back stronger next year.
“A lot more entertainment. The nights where we had entertainment on the stage were certainly more active and were going to really invite community groups to come in and be a part of that space and have theme nights and invite various groups and really animate that space,” Bray said.
Next year the DVBA plans to start the event earlier in December with a grand finale on New Years Eve, with plans of a special celebration.