The Riverside Festival of Lights will feature new rides and attractions when it kicks off its 24th Annual holiday event.
Anchoring the event again this year is the annual Festival of Lights Switch-On Ceremony, which marks the beginning of the holiday season.
This year’s Switch-on Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25. It will be produced by The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and the City of Riverside.
Historically, the event draws more than 75,000 visitors from all over Southern California to the corner of Orange Street and Mission Inn Avenue, where the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is located. Festivities begin with a formal welcome and brief remarks from local dignitaries. Following remarks, the light switch is flipped and millions of holiday lights bathe the downtown Riverside area in the warm and welcoming glow of a holiday wonderland.
In commenting about the event Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said, “The Switch-On Ceremony is an annual tradition for many Riversiders and Inland Southern California residents who gather with their family and friends for an illuminating night of fun, fellowship and holiday cheer.”
The Riverside Festival of Lights Riverside's Festival of Lights has won top honors as America's Best Holiday Festival (2015) and America’s Best Public Lights Display (2014) by the USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice Contest.
Over the years, event organizers have worked to continuously improve the event. As a result, this year visitors will enjoy several new attractions in addition to traditional favorites. The new attractions include Timeless Train Rides that will take visitors through downtown Riverside; Century Wheel that will enable visitors to see all the sights of the Festival of Lights from atop a 15-gondola; and a Colorful 36-animal Carousel.
“The Festival of Lights is one of the many things that make Riverside such a special place,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said.
Attendees are encouraged to reserve their Festival of Lights parking at www.clickandpark.com or at www.riversidefestivaloflights.com Parking will be $10 for a reserved space and $5 on the day of the event in public structures and lots.