It's called the Festival of Lights Switch On Ceremony and it's been a tradition for the past 19 years. A local hotel is adorned with 1.3 million lights for the holiday season. They start on the project several months in advance and they switch on the lights for the first time on the Friday after thanksgiving.
You know it's a big deal when you see three news vans from the L.A. stations set up on the periphery, one doing a live remote.
Another clue is the crowds. Last year's was estimated at over a quarter of a million people, I am sure that there was at least that many there tonight.
The crowd completely surrounded the hotel, a large one that takes up an entire block. A stage was set that was populated by dignitaries and the guy that owns the hotel, The mayor and the hotel owner spoke for a few minutes. I didn't mind listening to the hotel owner, as he is paying for most of this event, he should get to speak.
Thankfully, both the mayor and the owner were short-winded so after a short while the switch was thrown.
The result was immediate and impressive. Not only did the lights come on, but a fireworks display was initiated as well.
The lights are somewhat overpowered by the fireworks, but that is OK. The lights will be on until January 8th, the fireworks are just for tonight.
After the fireworks, we attempted to walk around the block. We made it most of the way, but the pedestrian mall was just too crowded to get through, so we by-passed that side. We did manage to see most of the sights though.
It was truly a beautiful sight, I am told the hotel books up many months in advance for this event. One of our BC's booked a room for this, I am sure he enjoyed the view.
I don't know what the hotel spends on this display, I'm sure it isn't cheap. Regardless, I am grateful for their efforts as the results are spectacular.
These photos don't do it justice. If you like Christmas lights and are ever in the Land of the Dirt People during the Christmas season, stop by the Mission Inn hotel, have a drink, then walk the block. You won't be disappointed.
Thanks for reading,