For Immediate Release: 11/10/2021 6:54 pm
The City of Worcester’s annual Festival of Lights celebration returns to the Worcester Common Friday, Dec. 3, 4:30-9 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will host a number of lighting features, ice skating, food vendors, community organizations and performances.
“The program was hosted virtually in 2020 due to COVID-19-related concerns and limitations on gatherings,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “We are looking forward to getting together in person once again to celebrate the holiday season with our community.”
Festival of Lights is the first night of the City’s winter lighting installation, which will be on display on the Worcester Common Dec. 3 through Feb. 28. 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. The sixth candle on a menorah will be lit in observance of Hanukkah, which begins Nov. 28. In partnership with the City and the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, Tower Hill Botanic Garden will install seven large-scale light sculptures.
“For this year’s Festival of Lights, we decided to create a visual representation of Worcester’s diverse community,” said Grace Elton, Executive Director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden. “Each of the seven light sculptures will have a different color combination, representing flags from around the world. We hope to create a sense of inclusion and representation for the many countries and points of origin represented in Worcester.”
In addition to the lighting features, Festival of Lights will feature ice skating on the Worcester Common Oval, food vendors, a beer tent, community organizations, a visit from Santa, face painting, balloon animals and carriage rides. There will also be live performances throughout the evening, including the Abby Kelly Foster Chorus, the Burncoat High School Quadrivium Chorus, South High School Chorus, AMPP Youth, and a dance troupe which will perform with fire and LED lighting, curated by Cirque De Light. Los Cantores De La Montaña will perform as the headline talent following the tree lighting.
The Festival of Lights will also focus on public health and safety, with COVID-19 vaccinations available for all those ages 5 and up.
“As excited as we are to bring people back together this year, we are taking precautions to consider public safety,” said City of Worcester Cultural Development Officer Erin Williams. “This mask-friendly event will be outdoors, the ice skating rink will have a capacity limit, and social distancing is a major consideration in the layout of the attractions.”
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 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: ASM Global, the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, 104.5-FM WXLO, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the Dogfather, and Discover Central Massachusetts.