The combination of high costs and low temperatures has put the Festival of Lights on thin ice.
Due to new Canadian Electrical Code regulations, the Festival of Lights has invested $50,000, half of its annual operating budget, into upgrading light displays.
The new displays are stunning, but the recent extreme cold weather has kept visitors, and more importantly their vital donations, away from Nose Creek Park. If they're unable to make up the upgrades through donations, the Festival of Lights may not return next winter.
"With this weather and this cold snap, we could be in danger of not running simply because if we don't have visitors in the park we're not able to make the revenue that we need," said Festival coordinator Michelle Pirzek.
The Festival's display is illuminated every night, but if the temperature dips below -26 with windchill, the Festival runs without volunteers.
"It's rough. We run lights only when it's this cold, which means we don't have hot chocolate and trains and stuff open and people aren't coming to visit."
According to Pirzek, the Festival of Lights is only guaranteed to return if they receive the donations they need. Despite the economic downturn, Pirzek hopes those who value the Festival will find a way to give.
"The reality is that those who can afford to make a donation, we really need them to if we have a chance at survival."
The situation will be reviewed at the end of this season, at which point the Festival of Light's future will be decided.
Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]