Over 100,000 Attend Bright Lights in Windsor

Over 100,000 people attended Bright Lights Windsor.

Organizers says the second year for the festival at Jackson Park saw record crowds from December 7th to January 6th.

The event included three times more lights and four times more displays, along with a holiday market, food and entertainment.

Some craft and food vendors sold out and additional evenings were added to meet demand.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the festival is not moving locations next year.

"It will stay at Jackson Park for sure," says Dilkens. "It is a very difficult event to move around because of the underground infrastructure required to power the event and so I know we have had some BIAs say we should move it around to different BIAs so everyone gets a piece of the action, but it is really practically speaking, you can't do it without spending millions of dollars."

Dilkens says he knew the public would like the festival--but not this much.

"The actual response is far greater than I had ever anticipated it would be. I knew people would like it, I didn't know to the extent that they would like it."

60,000 people attended the festival in its first year.

Dilkens expects in 2019-2020, the city will be able to expand the size of the holiday market to 5-6 days a week from the current two days, add additional amenities and find new sponsors.

Based on the feedback from 2017, a priority was to ensure that pathways were paved throughout the park making it easier for seniors and people in wheelchairs.

The new Bright Lights Windsor train was also a huge success with its hours extended on several nights.

As for the Windsor lights sign, Dilkens says the city is still trying to determine whether it will stay in the park or be moved.

The capital cost for the festival was $1.5-million this year, on top of the $1.5-million last year.  

The operating budget for the festival is about $297,500.