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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens set to celebrate the seasons with eighth annual Winter Lights Festival

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The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens are looking forward to bringing the whole community together for the holiday season with the eighth annual Winter Lights Festival, which officially opens to the public, Nov. 30.

 This year’s theme is a celebration of the seasons —  Haru (Spring), Natsu (Summer), Aki (Fall) and Fuyu (winter). The display includes three light tunnels, light panels and Japanese lanterns and parasols done up in at least 170,000 lights.


Michelle Day Miles talks about the Winter Lights Festival. Photo by Richard Amery

“I’ve been hanging lights too. I lost count around summer,” said Nikka Yuko  Japanese Gardens executive director  Michelle Day Miles.

“ We’re about 90 per cent finished putting it together,” she continued, adding Nikka Yuko have been working on the display since October.


 There will be no ice sculptures this year.


“The company we work with changed their business plan to focus on smaller sculptures,”  said Miles, who has been involved with the festival since it started in 2016.

She said there will still be a lot to see and do at the Winter Lights Festival.


“What I enjoy most about the Winter Lights festival is watching  people experience it. It is about bringing the whole community together,” Miles said, crediting generous sponsors for  helping the Festival become a success.


Exhibition Park aGlow with holiday spirit with transcontinental light display

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It seems fitting that it would start snowing for the opening  preview of Glow Lethbridge in the Agri Hub Building at  Exhibition  Park, last night, Nov. 22.


It took dedicated workers 10 days to put together an intricate arrangements of lights, taking audiences  on a tour of Christmas in the People‘s Republic of China, The United Kingdom, France, Mexico, India and the Netherlands.

“ There are approximately 1 million lights,” said Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin, adding it took 10 days to set up the display. Glow has toured  in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Langley, Saskatoon and Hartford, Connecticut.


Mike Warkentin looks at Glow Lethbridge. Photo by Richard Amery

 Warkentin said this  Glow is a unique experience apart from the other cities .


“It really is spectacular and really shows the holiday spirit,” he said.


“ You really get a feel for how people celebrate the holidays in these countries,” he continued.

As you enter the DA Hall  and KB Hall  there is a big stage which will feature local musicians including choirs playing Christmas favourites every night from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. Next to that is a slide  for kids to play on.


“It won’t be Taylor Swift or Trooper, but everyone will be here for a good time. It’s all local, budding artists who might not get a chance to play a big stage like this one,” said Lethbridge Exhibition Park CEO Mike Warkentin.

Glow Lethbridge runs from Nov. 23-Dec. 31. Photo by Richard Amery


The schedule is still being tweaked due to illness and unavailability, but as of Nov. 23,  the performers are Nov. 23  Lady Grime ; Nov. 24 – Isaac Neufeld ; Nov. 25 James Moore  ; Nov. 26 TBD ; Nov. 30 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 1  James Moore ; Dec. 2  The Southern Accord Chorus ; Dec. 3  Eve Lacey ; Dec. 7  Maria Pickering ; Dec. 8 – Charlie Navratil ; Dec. 9 – James Moore ; Dec. 10 – Maria Pickering ; Dec. 14  St. Pat’s School Choir ; Dec. 15 James Moore ; Dec. 16  Rachel Graf ; Dec. 17 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 21 Charlie Navratil ; Dec. 22  James Moore ; Dec. 23James Moore ; Dec. 24 Eve Lacey ; Dec. 28 TBD ; Dec. 29 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 30  MAK ; Dec. 31  MAK  .

 The updated schedule is at

 The stage is set next to a giant red heart surrounded by glittering lights spelling “Love.”


Allied Arts Council rings in the season early with Christmas at casa

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I hate to use the C word in November, unless it stands for Christmas at casa, which runs at casa, Nov. 17 and 18.

 It is a chance to get your Christmas shopping done early while supporting local artisans.


Carson Froelich playing Christmas at casa 2022. It is Nov. 17 and 18. Photo by Richard Amery

“We have a lot of new vendors and also some exciting new artisans,” said Allied Arts Council Communications Manager Kelaine Devine, estimating there are 48 booths featuring works by approximately 200 artisans including woodturning and textiles surface design guild members will be participating in the  beloved Lethbridge event.


She noted they had to limit the number of participants due to space issues at casa.


Kelaine is most excited about several new  jewelry vendors including Midnight Sun Elegance.


“ They make indigenous inspired jewelry,” Devine said adding the artisans have been hard at work for most of the year creating items to sell at Christmas at casa. She is also excited about new vendors selling bath bombs and a variety of others selling crafts and goods.


New casa exhibits put nature to paper

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Eight new exhibitions featuring beloved local artists exploring a variety of themes through ink on paper, open at casa tonight, Friday, Nov. 10.


 Usually  the opening receptions for new exhibits are on Saturday, but this one has been moved to today because of Remembrance Day.


Darcy Logan examines some of Corinne Thiessen’s exhibit “Post -Traumatic Playdate.” Photo By Richard Amery

“They’re usually on Saturdays, but because Remembrance Day is on a Saturday this year, out of respect for our veterans, the reception has been moved to Friday, ” said casa curator Darcy Logan.


 Half of the main gallery features Corinne  Thiessen’s exhibit “Post -Traumatic playdate.”


“Corinne has taken advertising imagery and printed it out and overpainted it to evoke a cult like  sensibility of corporations,” Logan described.

 The other half of the main gallery features Lethbridge born artist and Grande Prairie, Northwestern Polytechnic art history, drawing and digital media professor Ed Bader’s “ Drawing Conclusions.”

“They are high quality  cotton rag properties marked with images of nature. They come from a very recent residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts,” Logan said.


Outside the main gallery, local artist Leila Armstrong combines  her love of nature with  statistics with her exhibition  “ Backyard Wilderness II: Data Portraits in the  project space.


“ She’s combined urban wildlife with data and statistics,” Logan said.

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