Niagara Gazette

Opinion

November 17, 2012

GLYNN: Falls needs to upgrade 'Festival of Lights'

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Meanwhile, Wolfgang noted, Dave Kinney, the city's director of public works and parks, spearheaded another effort to make certain there was an adequate power supply for Old Falls Street, especially during the holidays. Others that provided valuable help were National Grid, the Conference Center Niagara Falls, USA Niagara Development and Seneca Nation of Indians.  

Now that Old Falls Street is finally looking classy again, it's probably time to seriously consider restoring the Festival of Lights to the level the city deserves. Such dazzling outdoor events are off-season centerpieces in many communities, large and small.   

The Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights in Wheeling, W.Va., started in 1985, attracts upwards of one million visitors per year, including 30,000 tour buses from 36 states.

Albany's "Capital Holiday Lights in the Park," featuring more than 125 light displays and scenes, offers visitors a drive-through experience ($15), carriage or trolley rides, or a chance to just stroll through Washington Park.  

Rochester and Corning, both within an easy drive of the Falls, also have a variety of family-oriented activities to light up for the holidays. 

Even with those areas all decked out, from late November to Dec. 31, Niagara has the edge: a natural wonder surrounded by the nation's oldest state park. Perhaps, as others say, it would be difficult to replicate "A Festival of Lights" but the stage is taking shape with the downtown improvements. 

•••

A REMINDER: This year's "Holiday of Lights Niagara Trail" opens at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sal Maglie Stadium in Hyde Park. It should be a fun night for the whole family. Organizers also hope that business owners along Pine Avenue will spruce up their properties, to create a link downtown for the event that runs through December.

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246

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