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Festival of Lights Returns to Worcester Common

For Immediate Release: 11/1/2023 3:33 pm

WORCESTER, Mass. – The City of Worcester’s annual Festival of Lights celebration returns to the Worcester Common Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. The free, family-friendly event hosts numerous lighting features, ice skating, food vendors, community organizations, and performances from 4:30 - 9 p.m.

Award-winning singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson will perform following the tree lighting at 6 p.m. The Springfield native was a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and topped the Billboard Gospel Charts.

Festival of Lights is the first night of the City’s winter lighting installation, which will be on display on the Common Dec. 1, 2023, through Feb. 28, 2024.

A highlight for Festival of Lights visitors is the lighting of the tree, which will take place at 6 p.m. In partnership with the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, temporary event and seasonal lighting activations include:

  • Tree uplighting – a dramatic and colorful tree uplighting to add pops of color to the Common.
  • “Illuminaciones” installment – an interactive light sculpture on the Common designed by local artist Zebbler Studios. The installation consists of a spiraling tunnel of LED-light, which offers a series of colorful light shows and is a perfect backdrop for photos.
  • Interactive snow people - LED-lit holiday decorations on the Common that may be used for photos and engagement.
  • “After Dark Park” - glow playscape for youth and adults on the Common and a 90-foot alpine slide positioned on Franklin St. for the night of the festival.

“The annual Festival of Lights is a fun, community initiative that brings people together to celebrate family and friends during the holiday season,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista. “Making time to spend with loved ones is important and we are proud to offer an inclusive festival with engaging activities throughout the winter season.”

In addition to the lighting displays, Festival of Lights will feature more than 15 food vendors, a beer tent, community organizations, a visit from Santa, face painting, interactive roving circus performers, fire performances, 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.

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.

The Worcester Public Library, at 3 Salem Sq., will also be open for Festival of Lights on Friday, Dec. 1 until 8:30 p.m. The library will have a hot cocoa station, small family crafts, and a Friends of the Library pop-up holiday sale.

From Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, the main library branch will host a Winter Wonderland setup that includes a life-size gingerbread house, cut-outs of gingerbread people and a snowman, a Pride snowman display, and a tree trail with 10 holiday trees decorated by local non-profit organizations and businesses as well as a Holiday Photo Scene.

Parking is available within a 5-minute walk of the Common, including the Worcester Common Garage at 2 Eaton Pl., 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 12 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 community partners that make this event possible: Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, DCU Center/ASM Global, Worcester Cultural Coalition, Rockland Trust, Cumulus Radio, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the College of the Holy Cross, Digital Federal Credit Union, and the Worcester Railers Hockey Club.

City of Worcester
Worcester 311
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 311
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