Remembering The Festival of Lights

By Robert Ventry;

If the Festival of Lights were still held it would be in its 35th year. The first annual Festival of Lights was launched in 1981 as economic stimulant for the local economy. The event was used to draw visitors into the city during the winter, which many consider the off season for the tourist industry. A group of business and civic leaders from the Falls area traveled to Simcoe Ontario in Canada which held its own festival. The group was so impressed with what they saw in Simcoe and with the experience they had. They decided to stage their own Festival of Lights right here in Niagara Falls. Opening night offered plenty of family entertainment, a parade, fireworks, and weekend concerts at the Convention and Civic Center. The event was a huge success for the city. It was such a success that in 1982 Niagara Falls Ontario started their own Festival of Lights.


          In just eight years the Festival of Lights was named the number one attraction in North America by the American bus Association in 1989. That distinction has previously graced other mega events, such as New York City’s Statue of liberty celebration in 1986 and the Pan American games in 1987, and the 1988 Winter Olympics. The designation as being one of the number one events in North American was expected to increase economic benefits for the area, such as an increase in buses coming to Niagara Falls and boost the number of overnight stays by visitors during the festival, and a great deal of national exposure.

In 1991 it was estimated that nearly one million people attended the 10th annual Festival of Lights, setting a new attendance record far surpassing previous year’s crowds.


The opening ceremonies for the 44 day festival included an Electric Light Parade that went from the Aquarium to the arch of The Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center. Santa Claus would greet the crowd and the countdown would begin and the Festival of lights would be turned on, as fireworks were launched from the top of the city parking ramp on Third and Niagara Street.

After the opening ceremonies people could enter the Convention Center and view the Winter Wonderland of Animation and array of animated scenes including Santa’s workshop and a toy train village. On the way some would decide to go ice skating at Lackey Plaza. While others would head over to The Carborundum Center, which included a toy train show and an animated program based on the legends of Christmas.


While others could go over to Falls Street Fair, which was one of the city’s newest attractions at the time, now the Conference Center. It recreates the street fairs of days gone by with Victorian style specialty shops along a Cobblestones Street, with amusement rides and a variety of food stands.

From there people could walk down Old Falls Street, which was like winter wonder land; it covered a three block area. The trees were decorated with lights and numerous Christmas displays lined the area. There were huge cut out displays that were built by volunteers; over 50 cutouts were built. Some were 20 feet high, Mother Goose, Disney characters, Santa and his elves, and other Christmas scenes. In addition there were five three dimensional displays, including a 12 foot high lighthouse and 12 feet long train, to add to the fun. In the middle was the magnificent Winter garden.

Which was a glass enclosed tropical setting in the midst of the snow and cold, decorated, inside and out with holiday decorations, animated displays, and colorful floral arrangements. The Wintergarden would glisten with two 26 foot high reflecting starts and 1,000 poinsettias. During the festival a variety of free musical entertainment was offered ranging from local choral groups to bell ringers.

From the Wintergarden people could walk right in to the Rainbow Mall and get something to eat or do some Christmas shopping. Or else walk over to the Oxy Building to view the Oxy lights. It was Occidental Chemical’s award winning light and music show. In 1987 it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. The side of the nine story office building was used as a stage or screen converting it into the world’s largest sound music synthesizer. From there people could go over to the state park which had a number of light displays and see the lights on the falls.


The Festival of Lights was a 44 day event held from November 23rd until the first weekend January. It featured over 40,000 lights and offered plenty of free family entertainment. At the time 69,000 people called Niagara Falls home. The annual event left  lasting memories on visitors and residents alike in the 20 years it was held.

The Convention Center was host to numerous events concerts, plays and ballet performances. Just to name a few Santa’s Magical Midway, Eddy Arnold, the Oak Ridge Boys and Mel Torme, ice skating shows The Nutcracker, basketball, hockey and midget auto racing and many more.

Without the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of volunteers and corporate sponsors, the Festival of Lights committee, The Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the New York Power Authority which provided free power for all the lights and displays, it would not have been as successful as it was.


Before the Festival of lights hotel occupancy was around 11 percent, in November and December, after the festival started it was well over 50 percent during those same months. With the increase in overnight stays, the local hospitality industry benefited greatly, in the 20 year event.

           Unfortunately after twenty years the plug was pulled in 2001.  The Festival of Lights once considered a major off season attraction sadly ended. The annual event suffered from declining attendance, increased costs and lack of corporate sponsors. Displays and lights were sold to cover any debts the Festival of Lights committee incurred. With talk over the years of bringing the Festival of Lights back, maybe one day they can shine again.



  1. John Rawluszki says:

    Can’t have anything that brings in tourism that works. Shut it down! Duster and friends need the city in deep debt and bankruptcy no services for the residences so they all leave leaving only the poor and destitute who can be easily controlled. Duster just needs a plan to keep tourism away during the summer months. That’s next on the list.

  2. My wife and I were just talking the Festival of Lights the other day. I have lived in Niagara Falls my entire life and have great memories of the festival as a kid. I honestly don’t want it brought back. If it were brought back, I would not take my kids there as I bet it would be a lot different than what we remember. It would be disappointing and not family friendly. For one, it’d be full of unsupervised kids causing trouble and making it miserable for everyone. I bet we’d be forced to smell marijuana while walking around too. The Wintergarden is gone and this was one of the best parts of the festival. Not to mention the upkeep of the displays would be terrible. Look at that joke of a display in Hyde Park. Year before last we went through there and several bulbs were out and things were not moving as they should. We didn’t even bother going last year or this year. The festival stopped in 2001 as this article states, Dyster is the 5th mayor we’ve had since then. I am not saying I commend what he does (or doesn’t) do, but the state the city is not just from him. This city is a joke…and it has been for some time.

  3. Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and detailed information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  4. Howdy! I just found this amazing site and I really enjoy it. I also want to speak about how to attract a faithful woman from time to time. Good to be around, bless you!

  5. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not certain whether or not this publish is written by means of him as no one else realize such certain approximately my difficulty. You are amazing! Thanks!

  6. Hi there I am truly happy I discovered this blog page, I actually discovered you by accident, when I was browsing on Yahoo for garageband app. Anyhow I’m here right now and would just enjoy to say thank you for a tremendous post and the all around fun site (I furthermore enjoy the theme/design), I do not have the time to go through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and even added your RSS feeds, so once I have enough time I will be returning to look over much more. Make sure you do continue the wonderful work.

  7. This is really fascinating, You’re an excessively professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to in search of extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  8. F*ckin’ remarkable things here. I am very glad to see your article. Thanks a lot and i’m looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  9. Many thanks for discussing this, I saved the webpage. I’m also in search of data about mobile phone tracker, do you know where I can find one thing such as this? I’ll be back quickly!

  10. Thank you for the good writeup. It in truth was a leisure
    account it. Look complex to far brought agreeable from
    you! However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

  11. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  12. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do think that you should write read more about this topic, it will not be considered a taboo subject but usually everyone is too few to communicate in on such topics. To another. Cheers

  13. I know this site provides quality depending posts
    and other material, is there any other web page which provides these information in quality?

  14. Hi everybody, here every person is sharing these
    know-how, thus it’s good to read this webpage, and I used to pay a
    visit this webpage all the time.

  15. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as neatly as with the structure to
    your weblog. Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it
    your self? Either way keep up the excellent high quality
    writing, it is rare to look a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  16. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well,
    almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  17. google bring me here. Thanks!

  18. There’s definately a lot to learn about this subject. I like
    all the points you’ve made.

  19. Great, bing took me stright here. thanks btw for post. Cheers!

  20. I will immediately snatch your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  21. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
    However, how could we communicate?

  22. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am going through difficulties with your
    RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

  23. Ha, here from bing, this is what i was browsing for.

  24. consumer electronics these days are mostly composed of gadgets that are more into phones and internet connection,.

  25. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  26. I need to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
    I have you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…

  27. Thanks very interesting blog!

  28. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this
    weblog and I am inspired! Very useful info specifically the last
    section 🙂 I maintain such information a lot. I used
    to be seeking this certain information for a very long time.
    Thanks and good luck.

  29. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much about this,
    such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
    I think that you simply could do with some p.c. to pressure the message
    house a little bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog.

    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  30. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and
    I in finding It truly helpful & it helped me out much. I’m
    hoping to offer something again and aid others such as you
    helped me.

  31. Unquestionably imagine that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be at the internet the simplest thing to take into accout of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as other
    folks think about worries that they plainly don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and outlined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take
    a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  32. Stunning quest there. What occurred after? Take care!

  33. Good Morning, google lead me here, keep up nice work.

  34. This is good. Cheers!

  35. I definitely wanted to construct a brief comment so as to say thanks to you for those stunning instructions you are placing on this website. My long internet research has at the end been honored with excellent details to go over with my friends and classmates. I ‘d say that most of us readers actually are very endowed to live in a great network with many outstanding people with interesting techniques. I feel truly lucky to have used your web page and look forward to some more fun moments reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.

  36. As I web site possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling fantastic , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  37. I felt wonderful reading this article and I feel you are completely correct. Tell me if you’re interested in mobile tracker, that’s my primary expertise. I really hope to see you in the near future, take care!

  38. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Many thanks

  39. Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your
    web site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing in your augment and even I achievement you
    get entry to constantly rapidly.

  40. I enjoying, will read more. Thanks!

  41. Awesome, this is what I was searching for in bing

  42. Terrific work! This is the type of information that are meant
    to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and seek advice from my site . Thank you =)

  43. I think the admin of this website is actually working hard for his web site,
    since here every stuff is quality based data.

  44. Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have saved it for later!

  45. Hi there, just changed into aware of your blog via Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate for those who proceed this in future. Many folks will likely be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  46. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside
    and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go
    back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  47. 92902 267907What cell phone browser is this internet site page optimized for Internet explorer? 17688

  48. Amoxicillin Rx [url= ]online pharmacy[/url] Precio Levitra Farmatodo
    buy accutane online safe Buy Nexium From Canada
    Biaxin 500 Mg Amoxil 500 Mg buy cialis My Pharmacy 365

  49. Great site! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also.

  50. what a suitable contest! thank on your own for furnishing me the prospect. would get pleasure from towards perspective this sort of 2!

  51. Your method of telling the whole thing in this post is in fact fastidious, all can simply
    know it, Thanks a lot.

  52. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve be mindful your stuff prior to and you are simply extremely excellent.

    I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like
    what you are stating and the best way by which you say
    it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to keep it smart.

    I cant wait to read much more from you. That is actually a great web site.

  53. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right.
    This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I
    had spent for this information! Thanks!

  54. I want to show thanks to you for bailing me out of this particular dilemma. Right after exploring throughout the world-wide-web and obtaining strategies which were not pleasant, I figured my entire life was over. Being alive devoid of the strategies to the difficulties you have resolved as a result of this short post is a serious case, and the kind that could have negatively affected my career if I hadn’t discovered your blog. The training and kindness in handling all things was precious. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come across such a stuff like this. I’m able to at this time look forward to my future. Thank you very much for the high quality and amazing help. I will not think twice to refer your blog to any individual who desires support about this area.

  55. You made some decent points there. I did a search on the subject and found most individuals will agree with your blog.

  56. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was once
    entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not believe just how a lot time I had spent for this info!

  57. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having
    trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email.
    I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  58. I like, will read more. Thanks!

  59. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your
    next write ups thank you once again.

  60. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the finest websites on the web.
    I will recommend this blog!

  61. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found
    It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads.
    I hope to contribute & aid other users like its aided me.
    Great job.

  62. I all the time emailed this weblog post page to all my friends, since if like to read
    it after that my links will too.

  63. Good, this is what I was searching for in google

  64. Ha, here from bing, this is what i was browsing for.

  65. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little homework
    on this. And he actually bought me dinner because I discovered it for him…

    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But
    yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your internet site.

  66. Hi there to all, the contents existing at this web site are truly remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  67. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


  68. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you’re a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and may come back later on. I
    want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice morning!

  69. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him
    as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

  70. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and
    wanted to say that I’ve truly loved browsing your weblog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  71. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds
    me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure
    he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  72. I am genuinely grateful to the holder of this site who has shared this great paragraph at at this time.

  73. I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked
    my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking
    for new details about once per week. I subscribed
    to your RSS feed as well.

  74. My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at web, but
    I know I am getting familiarity daily by reading thes pleasant content.

  75. This is a topic which is close to my heart…

    Take care! Where are your contact details though?

  76. Hello! I know this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does building a well-established website like yours require a large amount of work?

    I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

  77. Acheter Tadalis Sx Generique Buy Vigora Online [url= ]buy cialis[/url] Direct Bentyl 20mg Buying Internet On Line Propecia Inhaltsstoffe

  78. WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …

  79. Me like, will read more. Cheers!

  80. I enjoying, will read more. Thanks!

  81. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some
    time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something
    like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  82. Very neat blog.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  83. What i don’t understood is in truth how you’re not actually
    much more well-liked than you might be now.
    You are so intelligent. You already know thus considerably in terms of
    this matter, made me individually imagine it from numerous varied angles.
    Its like women and men aren’t involved until it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga!
    Your personal stuffs great. All the time take care of it up!

  84. I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

  85. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  86. Amoxicillin 500 Mg Price Viagra Site Francais Keflex Insomnia [url=]viagra[/url] Baclofene Insomnie

  87. Just want to say your article is as surprising.
    The clearness in your post is just nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed
    to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please
    carry on the gratifying work.

  88. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads.

    I am hoping to contribute & help other customers like its aided me.
    Good job.

  89. Keep up the great work, I read few content on this web site and I think that your website is very interesting and has sets of superb information.

  90. Yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a risky conclusion great post! .

  91. I loved up to you’ll receive performed right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. however, you command get got an nervousness over that you would like be handing over the following. ill indisputably come further in the past once more as exactly the similar just about a lot frequently inside case you defend this increase.

  92. Levitra Palpitations Order Tamoxifen Online [url=]generic levitra 20mg[/url] Cialis En Generique Propecia Efectivo Principio Activo Kamagra Oral Jelly 200mg Australia

  93. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in web explorer, might check this… IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge component to other people will omit your great writing because of this problem.

  94. Real nice design and great content, nothing at all else we need : D.

  95. Of course, what a magnificent site and enlightening posts, I surely will bookmark your site.All the Best!

  96. I’ve read several good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how so much attempt you put to create one of these excellent informative

  97. Some genuinely select articles on this internet site, bookmarked.

  98. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Appreciate it

  99. Hello, its fastidious post on the topic of media print, we all be familiar with media is a enormous
    source of data.

  100. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look ahead to searching for extra of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  101. Cipro Mail Order [url=]generic viagra[/url] Propecia Sperm Motility Lasix Usa Blog

  102. Just wanna input on few general things, The website style is perfect, the subject material is really excellent : D.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll Up.wpzoom (color:black;}