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Festival of Lights sparks holiday cheer

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By Lauren Garcia / Photo Editor

By Lauren Garcia / Photo Editor

The twinkling of near 3.5 million Christmas lights, a fire-work lit sky, and friends and family gathered together on a cool and crisp night in downtown Riverside for the 18th Annual Festival of Lights Switch-On Ceremony Nov. 26.


Riverside residents, as well as out of town travelers came to experience this festive light show.


It almost seemed as though there were as many people as there were Christmas decorations and lights which decorated the city streets.


Out of the 18 years that the Festival of Lights has been put on by Mission Inn Keepers Duane and Kelly Roberts, this was the first year that the Switch-On Ceremony was filmed live by local television stations such as ABC 7, KCAL 9, FOX 11.


The switch on ceremony is an annual event in which everyone gathers for the traditional lighting of the Mission Inn.


The countdown to the ‘switching on” of the lights was started by Roberts and the crowd joined in to help out.


Following the countdown, practically every building on Mission Inn Ave. became lit up with fun Christmas decorations.


The sky was filled with fireworks of all colors as they corresponded with the different Christmas songs that were played.


RCC’s very own Marching Tigers contributed to the event and played multiple Christmas tunes to get the crowd filled with Christmas cheer.


They played popular classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Jingle Bells.”


Each night until Dec. 26 Santa Claus will be in town and visitors can come see him whether they’ve been naughty or nice.


A photo is available with Santa to people of all ages and the cost is dependent upon the package of choice.


It’s a festive family friendly environment with an ice skating rink, plenty of food vendors, downtown shopping and upcoming performances at the Fox Performing Arts Center.

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