Rowen Closs-Reidel reacts to Santa as his good friend Athena Lynngood gives Santa her wishes during last year’s Oak Bay Light up.

Oak Bay aglow with the holiday spirit

Lights up and festivities on tap for Sunday event

Nearly 101,000 bulbs are ready to light up Sunday evening.

More than 1,400 strings of lights went up over the past month in an effort to make this year’s festivities a bigger and better street party than ever as the village enters the Christmas season.

“In the past we weren’t able to light all the windows at ground level,” said Heather Leary, project and communications manager for the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association that hosts the event.

A new system allows for attaching lights to some of those areas that couldn’t be lit before.

“It should be even brighter,” Leary said.

The month-long frenzy to get lights up and ready, with a little time built in to deal with windstorms that arose, will come to fruition at 5 p.m. Sunday when they’re powered up. Santa will stop by to have a look and visit with the youngsters.

But the fun starts three hours earlier with street food vendors selling everything from New Orleans-style offerings to roasted chestnuts. Family activities include road hockey, wheelchair sports (for everyone) and multiple craft tables. A pair of parade floats, the traditionally large and stunning Galey Farms float and the Canada Post float, will be on hand for up close and personal interaction. Canada Post will gather letters to deliver to Santa.

At 3 p.m. the entertainment starts with the Joy Life Choir, B.C. Fiddle Orchestra, Folkestra and Daniel Lapp all in the lineup.

The 14th annual Christmas Festival Light up gets under way Sunday with festivities starting at 2 p.m. in the village and the countdown at 5 p.m. followed by a visit with Santa and photos with the jolly man himself after that at Athlone Travel.

Visit visitoakbayvillage.ca for updates to festival events leading up to Christmas.

Two of those already set include the Art on the Avenue Gallery walk and Oak Bay Village Christmas Social on Dec. 4 where art galleries and shops open late for an evening of Oak Bay village hospitality.

Then on Dec. 6, the 2014 IEOA Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive shimmers down the Avenue. It’s a big deal in Oak Bay, with side streets closed as residents line the main drag cheering and waving the big rigs through.

“It’s [the truck drivers’] favourite part because it’s a real parade,” Leary said.

The convoy stops to collect food donations dropped off at municipal hall, and the community consistently donates about 1,800 pounds worth of food, said Leary, who would love to see Oak Bay again hit its peak donation – two tonnes. “It’s an important way of giving back.”

Volunteers will collect donations for Mustard Seed food bank from the crowd. Also expect to see a Public Works truck collecting donations across from municipal hall; at the hall, Mustard Seed volunteers will be set up on the lawn to issue receipts for cash offerings.

There will be music and treats too, starting at 5 p.m. Trucks are expected to arrive around 6:30 p.m. in the village.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com