For Immediate Release: 11/23/2022 11:28 am
[Originally published Nov. 16]
WORCESTER – The City of Worcester’s annual Festival of Lights celebration returns to the Worcester Common Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. The free, family-friendly event hosts numerous lighting features, ice skating, food vendors, community organizations, and performances from 4:30 - 9 p.m.
Headline talents Cara Brindisi and Kara McKee will perform following the tree lighting at 6pm. Both are contestants on the current season of NBC’s The Voice, and Brindisi is a Worcester native who has been performing in the region for over a decade.
Festival of Lights is the first night of the City’s winter lighting installation, which will be on display on the Worcester Common Dec. 2, 2022 through Feb. 28, 2023. The lights for which the festival is named come in many forms. A highlight for Festival of Lights visitors is the lighting of the tree, which will take place at 6 p.m. In commemoration of Worcester’s Tercentennial anniversary, in partnership with the City and the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill will install seven large-scale, Worcester-themed light sculptures and hanging light orbs.
“The annual Festival of Lights marks the beginning of the holiday season in Worcester and a moment of reflection,” said Acting City Manager, Eric D. Batista. “Never has there been a more important time in modern history to come together as a community in celebration of our differences. I hope that in the spirit of the holiday season, everyone shows compassion for those struggling as we enter the winter months, including our unhoused population and our small business community who continue to rebound from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continued.
As part of the City’s ongoing vaccination efforts, vaccines will be available ages 5 and up.
“For this year’s Festival of Lights, we designed light sculptures rooted in Worcester’s unique historical connections,” said Grace Elton, Executive Director of the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. “Each of the seven light sculptures displays different Worcester-themed imagery including hearts, rockets and smiley faces to continue Worcester’s yearlong Tercentennial celebrations.”
In addition to the lighting displays, Festival of Lights will feature food vendors, a beer tent, community organizations, a visit from Santa, face painting, mascot engagement, and carriage rides. There will also be live performances throughout the evening, including the Burncoat High School Quadrivium Chorus, Roosevelt Elementary, Rice Square, and AMPP Youth. Additional highlights include a dance troupe performing with LED lighting, curated by Cirque De Light, and fire dancing performed by Sasha the Fire Gypsy. Complimentary ice skating during Festival of Lights is made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Skaters may bring their own skates or rent on the Oval for $5 per pair.
Parking is available within a 5-minute walk of the Worcester Common Oval, including the Worcester Common Garage at 2 Eaton Place, the Mercantile Center Parking Garage at 100 Front St., the Federal Plaza Parking Garage at 570 Main St., and the Pearl-Elm Parking Garage at 24 Pearl St.
Area road closures will begin at 2 p.m. and include Franklin Street, Front Street, Church Street, and portions of Main Street in front of City Hall.
The City of Worcester would like to recognize the generous sponsors and community partners that make this event possible: 104.5-FM WXLO, ASM Global, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the College of the Holy Cross, Digital Federal Credit Union, Discover Central Massachusetts, the Dogfather, the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, Rockland Trust, Westerman Store and Restaurant Supply, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the Worcester Railers Hockey Club.