Calgarians who love the annual Lions Festival of Lights won’t be disappointed this year, as it was announced Tuesday the Christmastime tradition will go ahead this year.
In June the organizer of the yearly lights display, the Lions Festival of Lights Society, said it was forced to cancel the 2019 event because of access issues on the Confederation Park Golf Course.
The society said the dates for setup and tear down of the displays were “too inflexible,” and said it needed access to the field earlier than Nov. 7.
In turn, the city said in June that it had to consider the safety of the Lions, city employees and golf course users, as well as the period the golf course was in operation — Nov. 7 to March 7 — which the city said posed safety and liability risks.
A week later, the society met with the City of Calgary to try to come to a solution for both parties, and now, just a few months away from Christmas both have announced the festival is a go.
“The City of Calgary and the Lions Festival of Lights Society reached an agreement that will allow the society early access to the course this year to inspect and install the 500,000-light display,” the city said in a news release. “The display will be open Nov. 30 to Jan. 8.”
The city said it’s also working with the festival organizers to come up with a long-term plan to allow the well-loved display to continue on into the future.
“We are very happy we will be able to install the Festival of Lights display this year,” society chair, Otto Silzer said. “Thousands of families and children come out each year to see the display and walk around. It’s a family tradition.”
The city said the society and its hundreds of volunteers will have access to the golf course by Oct. 15 this year to start inspecting, testing and installing the display, thanks in part to the early closure of the course for construction and maintenance. The course is usually open through the month of October, the city said.
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“The parties will work on a new formal agreement for future years that addresses access and other requirements to the mutual benefit of everyone,” the city said.
The Festival of Lights has been set up on the golf course every year since 1986.