By Matt Beauchamp, Content Contributor
Every year the official kick-off to the Christmas season in the foothills is marked by Light up Okotoks.
The event takes place Friday, November 21st throughout Olde Towne Okotoks from 5:30 – 9:00 pm.
This yearly family event features vendors handing out cookies, hot chocolate, tea and decorations, while at least eight different groups of carolers sing amongst fire pits set up to keep everyone warm.
“The event is open to all, we generally get approximately 15,000 people each year,” said Mark Doherty, community events coordinator for the Town of Okotoks. “This event, like all of our community events, is very important to the citizens of Okotoks.”
With interactive activities including horse drawn carriage rides, a petting ponies, arts and crafts and a fireworks display.
There’s also a rumoured visit from a jolly man in red.
“(Light Up) brings the community together, creating a sense of community pride,” said Doherty. “We encourage and support community groups (and give them) an opportunity to fund raise.”
“For example, the Okotoks Food Bank and the Okotoks Fire Department Charity bbq raising dollars for the Family Resource Centre for families in need at Christmas. (Additionally) the Okotoks Western Wheel – Wheel Cares, which supports four local charities by dropping off new scarves, mitts and toques.”
Doherty says that, while all of the community events in Okotoks are popular, it is this event that everyone wants to be a part of.
“The other really unique part of this event is all the businesses located in that area all get involved. Either by lighting their businesses, by giving away free hot chocolate, or through sponsorship.”
Doherty says it’s the volunteers that really make the event special, and without them there would be no Light Up Okotoks.
“(Light Up) brings the community together, creating a sense of community pride”
“My job is made so much easier with all the community and corporate support,” said Doherty. “This is an excellent opportunity to volunteer as we rely heavily on volunteer support to assist me with the actual event.”
Check out this years map of events for location of all the activities:
Matt Beauchamp is a Calgary writer and owner of MRB Ink.