Riverside–Thousands gathered at Riverside’s Mission Inn last Friday to kick off the 25th Annual Festival of Lights.
For twenty-five years the annual switch-on ceremony has kicked off the holiday season, and the event’s popularity has continued to soar with each passing year. This year’s ceremony was augmented with the live stylings of singer Kenny Loggins and a fireworks display.
Although the fireworks were amazing, the millions of lights covering the historic Mission Inn provided tough competition for the attendees’ attention. The fantastic light display has not only continued to attract more locals to the event, it has also garnered major media attention. This year’s event received national recognition when it was highlighted by Good Morning America and USA Today, in addition to local media attention.
The light display includes Christmas trees, a colorful carousel, and a pathway brightly decorated with icicle lights.
The five million lights that cover the Mission Inn this year represent a tremendous expansion from the Festival of Lights origin in 1993, which began with a modestly small lighting ceremony of about 16,000 lights. The Festival of Lights will remain on display through January 6, 2018.
In addition to the Festival of Lights, the Mission Inn celebrates the season and the impact of trains and railroads by creating Holiday Candy Trains. No reservations are needed and walk-ins are encouraged. Families who participate in the Holiday Candy Trains activity are welcome to enjoy a free, 30-minute, family-friendly, exterior tour of the Mission Inn given by the facility’s Youth Ambassadors.
The Holiday Candy Trains event is scheduled for December 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Mission Inn Museum, 3696 Main Street, Riverside. For details, call (951) 788-9556.