The Festival of Lights was conceived 36 years ago by 4 Summerland Businessmen, Jerry Hallquist, Art Sewell, Allan Fabbi and Bruce Hallquist under the umbrella of the Downtown Business Improvement Area of the day. It was originally started to help showcase the businesses of downtown Summerland and it certainly has over the years.
To get the event started, the committee sold strings of Christmas lights to every merchant/building owners in the downtown area, to decorate their buildings and approximately 25,000 lights were sold that first year. The District of Summerland became involved and decorated the light standards on the streets and other public buildings in the downtown area.
At the time, it was the only festival of its kind in the Okanagan and has been well attended every year! Out of all the festivals that were done over the early years in downtown, no one had any idea that the Summerland Festival of Lights would be the only one to survive 36 years later. Festival of Lights was an instant success with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people in attendance for the first event. It continues to thrive today and is not only a premier holiday event for Summerland, but for the whole Okanagan
Re/Max Orchard Country Main Stage, Giants Head Dental Kidz Zone, Nesters Market Family Stage, Over 40 vendors, Selfies with Santa, Light Up the Vines sneak peek, Santa Claus mini-parade, food trucks, Santa’s Workshop at Summerland Credit Union, letters to Santa at the post office, United Church warm-up & activities, Summerland Singers & Players at the Summerland Museum & Archives, Kinsmen kid’s fishing pond, Summerland Credit Union fireworks display, and more!
Summerland is a friendly town of approximately 11,000 people in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.
Visitors to Summerland’s quaint downtown enjoy the kind of intimate, neighbourly shopping experience from the days before big box stores. In the evening, most would describe our downtown as “quiet” and perfect for leisurely window shopping.
But once a year on the last Friday of November, everything changes. Over the past 30 years, the Festival of Lights has grown to become the quintessential kick-off to the holiday season in the Okanagan Valley. Thousands pour into the downtown streets to enjoy our small town switch on our spectacular lights and enjoy the atmosphere.