RIVERSIDE, CA – The famous “Festival of Lights” will go ahead as planned in downtown Riverside during the Christmas season, but it will be another year of limited activity due to lingering public health concerns, people confirmed on Tuesday. responsible.
“A generation of local residents has grown up with the Festival of Lights as a much-loved tradition,” said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson. “We greatly appreciate our partners at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa for their years of investing in this tradition, and we look forward to the lighting ceremony returning in 2022. Until then, this season will still provide many lights. features and decorations that attract locals and visitors. “
Riverside City Council has ruled that, as in 2020, the risks of exposure to the coronavirus remain too high for large gatherings on the pedestrianized downtown Main Street.
The council will allocate about $ 100,000 for this year’s six-week event, which begins the day after Thanksgiving, according to city spokesman Phil Pitchford. Prior to 2020, between $ 350,000 and $ 825,000 were earmarked for festival activities, bringing in considerable revenue to the city and suppliers.
The lighting ceremony had, until 2020, been the festival’s first curtain-raiser and typically drew more than 75,000 people to the area overlooking the Mission Inn. However, due to COVID-19, that celebration was canceled by authorities last year, and this year Mission Inn staff decided it was still too risky.
“We hope that next year’s 30th anniversary will be a time when we can return to the festival as we knew it before COVID-19,” City Councilor Gaby Plascencia said.
Mission Inn Hotel & Spa owner Duane Roberts started the Festival of Lights in 1992.
The Night Party features the centennial inn bathed in multicolored hues, with hundreds of animated characters including elves, toy soldiers, nutcrackers, and angels visible on the railings, balconies, and ledges.
Towering Christmas trees traditionally line the path outside and inside the hotel, where visitors also encounter a 12-by-8-foot mistletoe.
“The festival will continue to feature traditional Mission Inn lights and decorations, as well as city-sponsored holiday decorations in the surrounding area, including holiday-themed selfie stations, holiday trees, large ornaments, a sleigh, bows and a garland over lights and bridges, ”according to a city statement.“ However… many traditional features, including shows, attractions, food vendors and horse-drawn carriages, had to be canceled. “
The Dickens Carolers, rides, ice rink, children’s bouncy houses and other activities will not be available.