Mayor Doug McCallum flips the switch during Surrey Tree Lighting Festival’s virtual event on Saturday, Nov. 21. (YouTube)

Mayor Doug McCallum flips the switch during Surrey Tree Lighting Festival’s virtual event on Saturday, Nov. 21. (YouTube)

WATCH: Surrey Tree Lighting Festival goes virtual during pandemic, in two-hour video

Light tunnel also located at Surrey city hall plaza until Jan. 3

Surrey Tree Lighting Festival went virtual on Saturday (Nov. 21) in an effort to bring some light to the city during the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-hour event was shown live on social media, and the video is now posted to the City of Surrey’s YouTube channel.

The festival typically attracts thousands of people to the plaza at Surrey City Hall, where the 60-foot tree stands once again, but the pandemic has put an end to such public gatherings, for now.

As part of the city’s Light Where You Live campaign, a light tunnel is also located on Surrey Civic Plaza until Jan. 3, “for residents to enjoy throughout the holiday season.”

Saturday’s 10th annual event featured a mix of music, comedy, crafts, holiday baking, contests and more, with Mayor Doug McCalllum flipping the switch at around the 1:53 mark of the video. Santa and Mrs. Claus hosted the broadcast, which earned “thousands of views,” according to event planners.

Performers included Andrew Allen, The Spindle Whorl Dancers, Ashley Pater, Zaac Pick, North Surrey Dance, Universal Gospel Choir, Norma McKnight, Royal Academy of Bhangra, Rockin’ Robin Show, Curtis Clear Sky and the Contellationz, Illest Illusionz, DACEY, Solontra, Karen Flamenco, members of the Surrey City Orchestra, Desmond Day, Omar Khan, Warren Dean Flandez and Top Line Vocal Collective.

The festival is presented by Surrey-based Coast Capital Savings.

Watch the virtual festival in video posted below.

Meantime, the city’s #LightWhereYouLive campaign encourages residents “to brighten Surrey this winter by installing seasonal lights at home and sharing on social media, as part of a contest on social media platforms.

“Between November 21 and December 20 Surrey residents are invited to share photos of their decorations using the hashtag #LightWhereYouLive,” says a post on surrey.ca. “A draw will be done each week for a prize from one of the participating Surrey Store to Door businesses.”

Light Displays in Surrey Parks

Due to COVID-19 the Bear Creek Lights event will not be taking place this year. Instead, smaller seasonal light displays have been lit throughout Surrey at the following parks:

• Newton Athletic Park

• Bear Creek Park Entrance

• South Surrey Athletic Park (the Forever Garden next to the South Surrey Arena, also 20 Avenue West of 148)

Also check out these other local light highlights:

• Beecher Place Wrapped Tree – 12160 Beecher Street

• Civic Plaza Tree

• Hawthorne Square and Downtown Cloverdale – 176 and 57A Avenue

Christmas