Strings of thousands of bulbs are starting to appear on Oak Bay Avenue as the village prepares for its annual light-up event.
One of the most popular of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Area projects of the year, Oak Bay Light Up is on Nov. 26 and includes the usual – food, festive fun and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving on an Oak Bay fire truck to flip the switch.
Family fun begins at 2 p.m. with crafts, activities, food and street-level entertainment. The Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay hosts a Letters to Santa writing and decorating station including a special direct-to-the-North-Pole mailbox. Kids can make mini-door swag at Oak Bay Flower Shop and Oak Bay Recreation hosts street hockey for youth. Planet Janet’s Hoop Jam gives attendees an opportunity to try hula hooping, learning the basics or trying new tricks.
Canvas Church Oak Bay offers activities for families at the Monterey centre from 3 to 4:45 p.m. Follow the path from Oak Bay Avenue – where the most recent infestation of spooky pumpkins gets an Arctic animals scavenger hunt makeover. Monterey also offers crafts, snacks, hot chocolate and a photo booth.
New this year is ice sculptor Aaron Grant creating a custom ice sculpture over the course of the afternoon.
Live music runs 3 to 6 p.m. under this year’s theme of Songs for a Winter Solstice. Performers include Soley Ella May, Jeanne Tolmie, Daniel Lapp, Scott White, Karel Roessing, Jamie Troy, Wes Carroll, Adrian Dolan, Colleen Eccleston plus The Joy of Life Choir, The Oak Bay High Jazz Combo and the Whoville Children’s Chorus.
Longtime master of ceremonies Bill Murphy-Dyson returns to lead the crowd – alongside Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and BIA president Martin Cownden – in a rousing rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas at 5 p.m.
Photos with Santa follow in the Engel and Volkers office at 2249 Oak Bay Ave., with donations going to the Oak Bay Fire Department nonessential equipment fund.
The village remains lit to Jan. 5 with the walkway lights staying up again to the end of February.
The event kicks off what the BIA bills as the Christmas Festival which includes the Island Equipment Owners Association Truck Parade & Food Drive that rolls through the village on Dec. 2. The truck parade to raise foods and funds for Mustard Seed Street Church, Goldstream Food Bank Society and Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank starts at 5 p.m. leaving Ogden Point and touring through the region to finish around 8 p.m. at Royal Bay.
In Oak Bay, live music and food donation drop-off hit the municipal lawn starting at 5 p.m.
Dec. 2 marks the final day of the annual Realtor Food Bank Challenge. Engel and Völkers and Pemberton Holmes collect cash and food donations starting Nov. 20 to support the region’s food banks. In 2022, the challenge raised more than 1,900 pounds of food and $10,000.
For more information on the Oak Bay Christmas Festival visit visitoakbayvillage.ca.