Surrey plans to light it up this weekend in time for the holiday season, even with an ongoing pandemic. The 11th annual Surrey Tree Lighting Festival will take place on Nov. 20 from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and is free for all to attend.
“We’re very, very excited to provide the community with a fun and safe holiday experience, where they can listen to new artists, they can shop from local vendors, try delicious food from local food trucks. So this year’s event is really all about supporting the local community, small businesses as well as providing a really breathtaking lighting experience for attendees,” says Jenna Kuzemski, a spokesperson for the City of Surrey.
The tree will be lit the entire day to comply with health and safety restrictions because of the pandemic, to mitigate crowds and make sure everyone attending the event can see the tree no matter what time they come. However, the tree will also be up until early January for another event called Surrey Holiday Lights, which will be held from Nov. 25, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.
Among the activities taking place, there is the Enchanted Village which will be covered in lights, free photos with Santa, giant ornaments, and presents to walk through and an illuminated Taj Mahal. The event will also feature way more light installations and experiences than in the past, Kuzemski says.
“There’ll be a big contest happening where if people post content using our hashtag or tag us, they can enter to win a $500 gift card to Central City shopping center,” she says.
There will be food trucks to cater to people who want to taste some local cuisine, and all of them have vegetarian and vegan options, and most have gluten-free food to try.
“We have … donuts, grilled cheese, and poutine. We have Burger Holic, which serves hamburgers, Mexican food, kettle corn … coffee and free hot chocolate,” Kuzemski says.
Music performances will take place both on the Main Stage at Surrey Civic Plaza and the Enchanted Stage in the Enchanted Village. The festival will be headlined by Ludic and feature a number of Surrey-based artists, including Indigenous artists such as JJ Lavallee, Á’a:líya, Pat Calihou, and Yvonne Kushe. Dance groups such as North Surrey Dance and Higher Ground Dance Company will also be performing on stage on Nov. 20.
“This year’s event is really all about supporting the local community, small businesses, as well as providing a really breathtaking lighting experience for attendees,” says Kuzemski.
Surrey has set up safety measures to comply with guidelines.
“As the majority of the event is indoors within the large tented village tent and other tents in the plaza, proof of vaccination is required for all to enter the festival site. As well as showing their valid government ID, masks are mandatory inside the enchanted village tent. We encourage cashless payments.”
There will also be sanitizer stations throughout the entire site, and high touch areas will be consistently sanitized between uses.
While the event will be in-person, people who can’t make it can still follow along from home through Surrey’s social media pages.