Crowds usually fill Surrey Civic Plaza for the city’s annual Tree Lighting Festival, but not in 2020. (file photo: City of Surrey)

Crowds usually fill Surrey Civic Plaza for the city’s annual Tree Lighting Festival, but not in 2020. (file photo: City of Surrey)

CHRISTMAS

Surrey’s 60-foot tree will be lit, and ‘light tunnel’ plugged in, but festival goes online for 2020

10th annual event goes online for 2020

One of B.C.’s biggest Christmas trees will be lit in Surrey later this month, but crowds aren’t encouraged to gather there.

Instead, the 10th annual Surrey Tree Lighting Festival will be held online on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m., on the city’s Facebook and YouTube Live pages.

The event typically attracts thousands of people to the plaza at Surrey City Hall, where the 60-foot tree will stand once again, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put an end to such public gatherings.

“This year’s free, family-friendly virtual event will be hosted by Santa and Mrs. Claus and will feature a variety of local performers, choirs and dance groups including Warren Dean Flandez, Surrey City Orchestra Trio, Bukola, the Spindle Whorl Dancers, the Royal Academy of Bhangra and more,” says an event advisory.

“Additionally, viewers can expect to see holiday baking, comedy sketches and kids crafts. The popular Holiday Market also returns virtually and will showcase local businesses on the Surrey Tree Lighting Festival website. Following the livestream, the festival will encourage residents to share photos of their favourite holiday traditions, festive lights and decor for a chance to win prizes.”

The festival is presented by Surrey-based Coast Capital Savings.

Related events involve the Downtown Surrey BIA handing out free holiday craft kits at Central City Shopping Centre on Friday, Nov. 13 from 1 to 8 p.m.

“Instructions on how to make these crafts will be aired within the (festival) livestream,” says the event advisory. As part of the city’s Light Where You Live campaign, a light tunnel will be installed on Surrey Civic Plaza from Nov. 21 to Jan. 3, “for residents to enjoy throughout the holiday season.”

More event details are posted to www.surrey.ca/treelighting, facebook.com/surreytreelightingfestival and instagram.com/surreybcevents.

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