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Worcester's Annual Festival of Lights to Brighten the Worcester Common on November 30th

For Immediate Release: 11/13/2012 1:09 pm

Worcester, MA (November 13, 2012) - The historic Worcester Common will shine bright on Friday, November 30, 2012, for the annual Festival of Lights celebration. Festivities will begin at 5:00 PM and will include the annual holiday tree lighting, performances by local school choruses, free hot cocoa, courtesy of the Dogfather and of course, a visit by Santa Claus and his merry Elves.

New this year, City officials will unveil public ice skating on the Worcester Common Oval and will open the rink to the public from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM free of charge, following the holiday tree lighting, the ceremonial first skate, and a mini-skate show. The event has been organized by the City of Worcester and the Worcester Cultural Coalition.

"This new skating rink is a wonderful addition to the City and we're pleased that we can be a part of it," said Chris Collins, Senior Vice President at Unum. "Our support is just one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to the community in which we live and work."

Charter TV3 Sports Director Kevin Shea will emcee this year's Festival of Lights. The celebration will open with holiday performances by the Seven Hills Show Choir led by Kathy Holton; Worcester Public Schools All-City Chorus led by Suzanne Miville and Andrea Mastro; and Quadrivium Ensemble from Burncoat High School conducted by David Twiss.

"We have exciting festivities planned for this year's Festival of Lights and invite everyone to attend our annual holiday celebration," said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien. "I am extremely thankful to our corporate sponsor, Unum, for their continued support of our community. They understand that arts and culture play a vital role in our City's revitalization efforts."

The holiday tree lighting is scheduled to take place at 5:45 PM and then children will have an opportunity to visit with Santa on the Worcester City Hall Plaza. The ceremonial first skate will be led by members of Special Olympics of Massachusetts, Greater Springfield and North Section Bowling, Sailing and Skating, as well as members of the Worcester Junior Sharks Youth Hockey, Skate Club of Worcester, North Star Figure Skating Club, Colonial Figure Skating Club, Why Me/Sherry's House, Becker College Ice Hawks, the College of the Holy Cross Women's Ice Hockey, Assumption College Ice Hockey Team and Finz. The Colonial Figure Skating Club's 2013 New England Regional Champions and 2013 Eastern Sectional Competitors will cap-off the procession with a mini-skate show performance for attendees.

In keeping with the spirit of giving, representatives from the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program will also be on site at the event to collect new, unwrapped toys for children in the Worcester area. WOO cards can be swiped at the Festival of Lights and at the Oval for future events. The Dogfather will be on site selling concessions and offering free hot cocoa. Skate rentals will be available for $3.00, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own skates.

As part of this year's Festival of Lights, the Worcester Cultural Coalition will also hold a "Downtown Creative Windows Display Contest" to encourage businesses within a half mile of the Worcester Common to decorate their windows in the theme of "Let There Be Light." Worcester Windows Community Gallery will also feature the works of local and regional artists whose art reflects the theme.

Voting is set to begin on November 30th and ends on January 7th. The contest's winners will be based on the People's Choice.

"The contest sparks creativity, showcases the arts and encourages the public to experience the new Worcester," says Erin Williams, Worcester's Cultural Development Officer. To learn more about the contest, visit

To learn more about Festival of Lights or the new Oval, please visit

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