The Northern Spirit Light Show is returning to light up the night at Evergreen Park. Having kicked off on Thursday, Peace Draft Horse Club Treasurer Cheryl Kimble says the show is off to a bright start.

“We had people lined up by 6 p.m. and the last one went through at 10 p.m.,” she says. “Many people brought food for the food bank, which is greatly appreciated and it’ll get passed along to one of the local charities that can use it.”

The 12th annual show was reportedly required to receive special permissions from Alberta Health Services in order to set up this year, due to ongoing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, horse-drawn carriage rides, communal fire pits, and the usual complimentary hot chocolate are not being offered to patrons.

The event is essentially a drive-through only, requiring people to remain in their vehicles while passing through the lights. Kimble adds, despite the changes, it’s still something fun for the season that people can return to multiple times over.

“It’s of course, not as fun as having the horses but it’s something that we can do for the Christmas season and the proceeds go to local charities. We have a minimum of 12 charities we have earmarked for a share of the proceeds. The more we raise, the more we can help out.”

To compensate for the lack of horse carriages, a second drive-through lane has been opened to help speed up traffic. All in all, Kimble estimates there are over 150 displays set up this year from sponsoring organizations. She says the ensemble required roughly two weeks to set up completely.

“Set-up actually begins in September and we work weekends and holidays to do that.”

Kimble says with the addition of the Festival of Trees beginning Sunday, people will have another reason to visit Evergreen Park and can view the lights while they are out and about.

The Northern Spirit Light Show costs $15 per vehicle to enter, regardless of how many people are present inside. The show will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until December 6th, then every day from December 10th to 31st, closed only for Christmas Day.