Surrey firefighters are among hundreds of volunteers who helped create Bright Nights in Stanley Park in recent weeks.
The by-donation attraction opens Thursday (Dec. 1) for a 25th year, with live entertainment, sparkling lights and festive photo stations including a cartoonish firehall decorated by Surrey firefighters.
This year marks the first time Bright Nights will operate without the Vancouver Park Board’s holiday train, with a return to full capacity for the first time since 2019, pre-pandemic.
New this year is live entertainment from the Scrooge Horns, holiday-infused bluegrass tunes from Wildwood Fire and yo-yo champ Harrison Lee with a Christmas-inspired routine.
There’s a 12-foot-tall sparkling red reindeer, a tunnel of lights and decorated fire truck for photo ops, among other highlights.
Parking is free at Bright Nights, open daily from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1 (excluding Dec. 5-6 and Christmas Day), from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Last entry is at 9 p.m.
At the entrance, firefighter volunteers will greet guests and accept donations to BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Bright Nights is the organization’s single largest fundraising event, boosted by a 50/50 draw for which the jackpot has already surpassed $100,000, on brightnightsraffle.com (entry deadline Dec. 31).
Proceeds from Bright Nights and the 50/50 draw help fund burn-survivor programs.
Each year more than 1,000 people are treated for burns in B.C., according to BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, and the majority of them are children. The Burn Fund supports survivors with programs including Burn Camp and services such as the Home Away Program, which provides accommodations for burn survivors and fire fighters who must travel to Vancouver for treatment.
“We are so grateful to the hundreds of firefighter volunteers who traveled from across the province to create the amazing light displays at Bright Nights,” said Jeff Sauvé, Burn Fund executive director. “Bright Nights is a holiday tradition for many, and this special event would not be possible without the support of our professional firefighters.”
In the mid-1980s, Bob Wingfield and Marg Barrett began attracting people to their Newton-area home with a giant “Winter Wonderland” display of Christmas lights, just east of the old Surrey Public Market site, near 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard. Local firefighters eventually helped put up the display, and donations were collected for the burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
In 1997 all those lights were brought to Stanley Park for use in a then-new Bright Nights event.
• READ MORE, in our story from 2021: ’80s Surrey roots for Stanley Park’s ‘Bright Nights’ event, site of one whimsical fire hall.
Established in 1978 by the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, the Burn Fund is supported by more than 4,000 professional firefighters from 53 communities in B.C. and Yukon.