Instead of a grand opening for Liberty Lake’s newest park, the city will host a 40-day light and Christmas festival that will feature light-up zoo animals, giant Christmas trees and 12-foot candles.
The city hopes the light show, which kicks off Saturday in Orchard Park, will become an annual event.
City Councilwoman Cris Kaminskas said there had previously been a nativity in the city and a Christmas tree at city hall, but she’s hoping this festival will draw in people from across the region.
“I’m hoping it’s successful, and we can do it moving forward,” she said.
Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson will kick off the lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday and the festivities will include a visit from Santa, caroling and concessions.
The City sponsored the event, working with the Winter Glow Spectacular Foundation, which created last year’s Christmas display in Cowley Park near Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.
Treasurer for the nonprofit, Phil Robinson, said the team installed an enchanted forest, a group of snowmen on the park’s splash pad and many other light displays. He said a group of volunteers from a retirement home also has decorated the outside of the park’s restrooms like a gingerbread house.
Overall, there are about 200 displays.
Robinson said he’s appreciated how excited and welcoming the city has been to them, and they’ve had far more volunteers than normal to help set up lights.
“We’re really excited by the response to this,” he said. “This community is amazing, and the number of volunteers is amazing.”
Rich Reilly, the vice president for the nonprofit, said attendees will see far more lights than they would have if the light show stayed in Cowley Park in Spokane. The nonprofit kept a significant portion of its lights in storage for those light displays because Cowley is a much smaller park. The event in Orchard Park will allow them to use three-fourths of the lights they have purchased over the years.
Reilly said the light displays in the park may look a little awkward in the day leading up to the show, but once they all turn on, their metal frames will fade into the background and visitors will see an amazing show.
“They won’t be disappointed,” he said. “Everybody loves Christmas lights.”
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