Winter wonderland

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By Anthony Whitacre

By Anthony Whitacre

Riverside residents flocked to the historic Mission Inn where the Festival of Lights lit up the streets in a brilliant display of holiday jubilation.

The events started Nov. 25 with the growing anticipation of the lighting ceremony which began at 6:15 p.m. and will continue until New Years day.

Downtown was lit in a spectacular display of flashing lights, elves and holiday themes.

“I think it’s gorgeous. Everywhere you look there’s something different,” said Riverside resident Sandra Sierra.

Sierra has been a resident for 25 years and it is her first time coming down to see the holiday displays. She says that she will definitely be looking forward to coming back next year.

As residents walk through the Mission Inn, they will be greeted with cute holiday decorations such as flashing candy canes and lighted trees. If you go through a side corridor of the Mission Inn you will be greeted by wax elves working in Santa’s workshop.

The holiday festivities include vendors selling holiday scarves and clothing, a kettle corn vendor, a Gingerbread house that sells cookies and hot cocoa, and an ice rink where residents can skate for $10 an hour and rent skates for $3.

Riverside resident Deborah Porter, who has been living in Riverside since 1990, has been “part of the holiday festivities forever.”

“On Saturday it was so packed you could not move, there were people everywhere you could hardly breathe,” said Porter.

The Riverside City Council is hoping to make this holiday festival its new signature event. Riverside residents can go downtown and feast their eyes on the gorgeous displays of lights and holiday cheer which is a great way to bond with family and friends.

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