People walk along a lit path during a previous Light Festival held at Bear Creek Park in Surrey. (Photo: Rick Chapman/City of Surrey)

Festival to light up Surrey park for seven nights, starting when clocks fall back

Giant Lite-Brite, food trucks and more at Bear Creek Park

Bear Creek Park will be lit up like a Christmas tree starting Sunday (Nov. 4), but Surrey’s annual Light Festival has nothing to do with December’s big holiday.

No, it’s all about bringing light to the area at a time of year when things get increasingly dark in these parts.

“This event started as just a unique way to see the park, and it was never meant to be a Christmas thing or a Halloween thing, it’s more about when our daylight fades,” said Mandy Hadfield, a lead organizer of the Light Festival.

Daylight Savings this year is Saturday night (Nov. 3), into Sunday morning, and it’s timed with that,” added Hadfield, who works as a park operations co-oridinator in Surrey.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey’s Garden Light Festival grows to seven nights in November.

“More lights, more nights” are promised this year at the expanded, seven-night festival, which runs from Nov. 4 to 10 during evening hours, from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free, and themed nights are planned.

The Telus-presented festival has grown from a single-night event in 2016 to a two-night gathering in 2017, to seven nights in 2018.

“Two years ago we had around 1,200 people come out to this event, last year we had over 6,000, and we’re not sure what to expect this time,” Hadfield said this week.

“Last year we got so many people we didn’t expect – people just kept coming and we were like, ‘OK, the word is out.’… We asked for feedback and some of it said people wanted to see it on the weekend and take their kids, so we listened. This year, we’ve already had the biggest response on social media we’ve had to any of our events, so as of this morning we’ve had 11,000 people say they’re interested in the Facebook event we put out, so far.”

On Monday morning, Hadfield toured the Now-Leader through Bear Creek Gardens as crews strung lights and built arches while a hard rain fell on the festival grounds.

Come Sunday, the park’s water playground will be a starting point for more than 50,000 lights, opposite the works building known as the Bear’s Den, south of the outdoor pool.

“This is our activity zone,” Hadfield explained. “The Honeybee Centre is coming to do a really cool display they did in partnership with Surrey Christian School, where the kids handmade this really beautiful honeycomb. It’s a really neat part of this.”

Park paths are lined with festoon lights, leading to a large wooden frame designed for photo shoots. The Telus Lounge area will include virtual-reality goggles and giveaways. Nearby, the park’s white metal chapel will be lit up, as will the pagoda located in the Japanese garden.

“That black box,” she said, pointing, “will become a giant Lite-Bright, with over 300 water bottles filled with coloured water and lights inside,” she continued. “That’ll be really cool. It’s more the kids stuff right now, with stilts and lit-up robots, things for the kids to enjoy.”

MK Illumination, an international company with an office in Surrey, this year returns to help set up the festival, which kicks off Sunday with an activity zone, food trucks, roving performers and more.

“We’ll have a big tent here, and it’ll be where people can sit down and have some food,” Hadfield said. “You’ll be able to get Triple O’s, Japadog, Molly’s and Taters, the baked potato place.

A Diwali-inspired theme night is planned for Tuesday (Nov. 6), with an entertainment stage and added attractions. That afternoon, from 4 to 5 p.m., guests are invited to construct collaborative lanterns with mentoring artists Roxanne Charles and Debbie Westergaard Tuepah at nearby Surrey Art Gallery, and then “take them out for a walk afterwards.”

The gathering on Saturday, Nov. 10 will be similar to opening night, with additional festivities planned.

All others are “quiet nights with just the lights,” Hadfield noted.

”We’re telling families, come on those Nov. 4th, 6th and 10th nights, with the activity area, but if you’re like, you know, dual income, no kids, or maybe the kids are out of the house now, come on the Monday, the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – the more quiet nights. There won’t be food trucks on those nights but it’s a good time to just walk through and enjoy the lights. We don’t anticipate those nights having thousands of people.”

With similar well-lit events happening at places like Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, Surrey upped its game this year.

“In Coquitlam they kind of involve their whole parks team, and at first we didn’t really do that here,” Hadfield said. “It was just a group of four to start off, and we did what we could with the resources we had, and now we’ve got the support with our landscape operations team. People have gotten really excited about it, sponsors have gotten behind it and it’s taken off.

“There are some big events, such as Glow in Langley, and the all the gardens in Vancouver do it,” she continued, “but one thing I realized last year is that south of the Fraser, what is there that you don’t have to pay for? That’s us, and that’s what we want to be.”

• RELATED STORY: Glow Langley returns bigger and brighter this Christmas.

A free park-and-ride shuttle will be available on the nights of Nov. 4, 6 and 10 at the school district building at 14033 92nd Ave., for service to and from the Bear Creek parking lot at 140th Street and 86A Avenue. “Parking is available at both 88th Avenue and 140th Street parking lots,” says a post at surrey.ca. “It will be busy. Consider taking the shuttle, carpooling or walking to the festival.”

For more festival details, call 604-501-5050 or visit surrey.ca/lightfestival.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

 

Mandy Hadfield, a lead organizer of the Light Festival at Bear Creek Park in Surrey, with a bear topiary wrapped in lights. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Just Posted

Over-budget bids cause delay of four Surrey school projects

Two projects have gone back out to tender, two awaiting ‘revised budget approval’ from Ministry of Education

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

Free hospital parking a non-starter in White Rock

City considering task force to look at parking generally – Walker

Salish Secondary to host first-ever toy drive for Cloverdale Christmas Hamper

Drive hopes to boost gift donations for hamper program, which provides food, gifts to families

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read