By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coaldale will not be hosting it’s annual Night of Lights event this year.
During town council’s regular Oct. 26 meeting, community services manager Cindy Hoffman provided a report on the planning for the annual Night of Lights parade intown. With the ongoing pandemic and the resulting physical distancing and other AHS requirements for the prevention and/or reduction of transmission of the virus, the town is unable to carry out the Night of Lights event as they usuallywould. Additionally, the AHS South Zone is seeing a substantial increase in the number of COVID cases, and the region had been placed under the provincial Watch Status. As of press deadline on Friday, there were 26 active COVID-19 cases reported in the Lethbridge Countyregion.
Due to these factors, administration recommended that council cancel the parade event, scheduled for November2020.
“In consultation with the Coaldale Emergency Services Team, Emergency Management Team and RCMP, it has been determined that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising number of confirmed COVID cases in the AHS South Zone and County of Lethbridge, the community services department will not be planning or hosting the annual Country Christmas Night of Lights Parade this year,” saidHoffman. “Several options for a modified event were discussed, however, the inherent risk to our community associated with each option was found to be too great.”
Instead of holding the Night of Lights event, the town’s Community Services Department will be hosting the third annual Fan Favourite Best Decorated Businesses Competition, as decided by the community, and the second annual Best Decorated Business Competition, as decided by localjudges. Coaldale businesses are asked to “go all out” this year with decorating the inside and outside of their businesses, and community members can vote online for their favourite decorated business during the week of Nov 16, with the winner being announced on Nov20. The local judges will be judging the outside decorations of all Coaldale businesses on Sunday, Dec 13, to determine the winner of the Best Decorated Business Award.
“We are hoping to support our local businesses by asking the community to go out, check the decorations on the businesses the week ofNov. 16, and then vote on their favourite business.”
The town will also be holding the second annual Best Decorated Holiday Home & Yard Competition, with every decorated home in Coaldale will be judged on Sunday,Dec.13. A self-guided Coaldale Country Christmas Night of Lights Tour map will be available online so families can enjoy the holiday light displays throughout Coaldale while in the safety of their own vehicle and cohort.
The town will also host the second annual Winter Light Festival, which will run fromNov.21-Jan. 9 at the PicnicShelter. The theme this year is Awaken the Winter Spirit and the park will again be open to the public each Wednesday and Saturday evening while ensuring that COVID guidelines are being followed.
“We’re hoping, we’re trying our best to ensure community spirit for Christmas is alive and well, even though we are not able to gather for aparade.”Coun. Doreen Llyod asked if they had considered doing a drive-byparade. Hoffman said they did talked about doing one, but there were concerns about traffic safety.
Council unanimously passed a motion to cancel the Night of Lights event for 2020, and further that community services continue to proceed with the business decorating competitions, the home decorating competition and the Winter Light Festival.