The magic of Christmas in Ladner Village begins with the flick of a switch tomorrow night.
At exactly 7:15 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 24), at the corner of 48th Avenue and Delta Street, Santa will show up and turn on the lights for the Christmas tree in the middle of the village marking the start of the yuletide season.
“That is the day that Santa Claus will visit Ladner and will actually, officially light up the Christmas tree,” said Valerie Miller, president of the Ladner Business Association.
This year is the 10th annual Christmas Tree Festival, put on by the LBA.
While the tree will be lit just after 7 p.m., the event starts an hour before — at 6.
Tony Barton is providing the live entertainment along with the Delta Youth Theatre.
“It’s a fun evening. It’s an event that young and old can come out and have a great time,” said Miller.
Some of activities include a Christmas tree-colouring contest, letters to Santa, free hot chocolate, children’s activity stations and a gingerbread house contest where LBA members create unique structures out of cookie dough. Maximum size for the entries is 12 by 12 by 18 inches. Acceptable building materials include gingerbread, chocolate, Rice Krispees, graham crackers, candy, cookies, gum drops, icing and candy canes.
“I have seen some incredible gingerbread contest houses built,” said Miller.
Entries though must get to the festival site by 5 p.m., on Nov. 24.
Entry is free — except for the cost of the baking goodies used in your creation.
Festival patrons will then cast their vote for their favourite gingerbread design with the winner announced that night. Recognition in the Optimist and bragging rights for the next year are the prizes.
This year marks the return to normalcy for the event, after COVID-19 restrictions and bad weather curtailed the event the last two years.
One change this year is removing the cookie-decorating contest in order to minimize health risk.
“It’s always an event. It’s very well received by the families in Ladner,” said Miller.
While the tree lighting marks the official start of Christmas in the village, the Light Up Ladner initiative has been going on for years with Christmas lights having been on throughout the village since fall arrived.
Local businesses have been raising funds in order to constantly add new lights. Any business that has collected donations for Light Up Ladner can bring the money to South Coast Casuals.