Festival of Lights brightens downtown in a family friendly renowned event

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Published Nov. 30, 2014

John Villanueva | Staff Writer

 

When the sun goes down and the lights grow bright around the holidays, it brings out certain comfort and happiness in people that can’t be described.

The Festival of Lights is an event the City of Riverside and the Mission Inn host every year, this year from Nov.28 to Jan 3.

The festival has booths that go from warm funnel cakes dressed in whipped cream and strawberries, to clothing booths that sell scarves and gloves that will keep you warm during the chilly night.

Riverside’s Fire Station 1 lends their hand every year to keep the event safe and secure.

“It’s good for the city and the departments to interact with each other,” said Patrick Hopkins, a Fire captain. “I think it’s awesome. It’s great, this event is in its running. Right now the votes are showing it as ranked number 2 in the country and that alone is amazing. It brings people here and makes money to help the city.”

The Riverside Fire station says they rarely need to lend their hand to any extreme issues. They not only patrol, but also take pictures with the children and families that come and go.

Couples, friends and families come to the event every year to either ice skate or enjoy the Mission Inn tour.

Jesus and Myra Pulido and their family have been coming for the past two years and have loved their experience each time they’ve come.

“It’s nice,” said Jesus Pulido as he looks down to his children. “It’s nice to see downtown transform like this. The kids, they love it. Every chance we get, every chance, we will come back. Like I said the kids, my kids, they love it and it’s a nice walk.”

Another group that helps control and keep the festival safe is the Riverside Police Explorers.

“It’s not just Riverside, it’s everyone from all backgrounds,” said Princes Duarte, agreeing with her partner. “We can all come together for an event like this. It’s great and I’ve been coming every year living in Riverside my whole life.”

This event, as well as any major event that happens in Riverside, has been kept safe by these explorers when they are called into action.

Not many problems have occurred according to Daphne Ramirez, police explorer.

“It’s safer and nicer,” Ramirez said. “There’s no problems.”

The Festival of Lights has been an ongoing event in Riverside every year. This year marks their 22nd anniversary to bringing the joy of lights, decorations and activities for families, friends and loved ones during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.