The 7th annual Neighborhood Festival of Lights on Buffalo’s West Side has officially started and will feature two new events. Each year between Thanksgiving and January 6th, households in neighborhoods from Symphony Circle to the Peace Bridge show their holiday spirit by participating in a friendly competition to see who can make their house the most festive in the neighborhood.
This year, a community holiday sing-along will take place on Monday, December 15 from 7-8 PM in the lobby of Kleinhans Music Hall. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Daniel Hart, Executive Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in creating a fun filled evening of Christmas caroling for West Side residents, said Kathy Mecca, one of the Festival organizers. We’re doing this for the community, their families and especially the kids. We want everyone to get into the holiday spirit. What could be better than singing your favorite Christmas songs inside of a world class historic music hall that’s beautifully decorated for the holidays. I’ve heard that Santa Claus is planning on joining us, added Mecca. Allen Town resident David Granville is the musical director. The event is free and seating is available on a first come basis.
On December 15 and 16th the Peace Bridge will be lit up in red and green in recognition of the Festival. The Peace Bridge Authority is showing its holiday spirit by lighting up the bridge in addition to a spectacular light show display on Busti Avenue. This is an event that encourages everyone in the district to show off their holiday spirit by decorating, said Mecca. This year, the celebration is dedicated to the memory of Christine Lovett-Schaus, one of the festival’s founders and guiding lights. Christine’s community spirit was a driving force behind all of us this year added Mecca. Lovett-Schaus recently passed away.
In addition to sponsorship from Kleinhans and the BPO, Festival organizers have partnered with: Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Certo Brothers Distributing, Councilmember David Rivera, D’Youville College, Elmwood Village Fabrics, Explore Buffalo, First Presbyterian Church at Symphony Circle, First Niagara Bank, Kavinoky Theatre, Kleinhans Music Hall, The BPO, Marco’s on Niagara Street, Martin Cooks, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, The Baird Foundation, Villardo Printing, Wilcro Inc.
More than twenty local businesses are donating prizes for contest winners.
The Festival of Lights brings in people from all over to see one of Buffalo’s extraordinary districts bathed in a beautiful light show. The decorations will be up for self-guided walking tours until the first week in January. A Facebook page at Neighborhood Festival of Lights provides a downloadable map for self-guided tours.