The annual festival of lights in Riverside has become a holiday tradition for the city, attracting millions of visitors and making it one of the country’s most popular light festivals. The event features a switch-on ceremony at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, and displays throughout downtown, including in the historic buildings along Main Street.
Millions of lights and hundreds of lighted characters are displayed around the city, with the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa serving as the focal point. The event is free and offers a variety of activities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, a mini carnival with a Ferris wheel, a walk-in snow globe and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, according to the festival’s website.
It’s a must for families looking to kick off the holiday season with fun and activities. If you have kids, it is best to arrive early because there will be crowds of people coming and going from the event.
For more information, visit the Festival of Lights website or call the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa at 909.689.5000.
The Festival of Lights began in 1992 when owner Duane Roberts wanted to do something to celebrate the holidays in Riverside, a pit stop between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. He added a small display to the historic hotel and has since transformed it into a six-block holiday extravaganza that lasts more than a month.
In recent years, the festival has become a rite of passage for many Riverside residents. It has been a signature event that has helped the city grow its economy and attract business. Its popularity has even helped Riverside become the center of the California State Fair and the annual Winter Festival.
During the event, millions of lights and animatronic characters are displayed at the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. The display includes hundreds of elves, toy soldiers, nutcrackers and angels that are visible on the exterior and inside the historic hotel.
This year the festival is a family-friendly affair and features fun events for all ages, from a nativity scene to a photo opportunity with Santa. The city also has a number of vendors that sell holiday themed goods, including a variety of figurines and ornaments, as well as Christmas-themed decorations for your home.
A fire broke out on part of the roof at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside on Friday night, causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished. The fire occurred shortly after the Festival of Lights fireworks show, according to Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief Pat Hopkins. The fire started on a roof on the backside of the resort, Hopkins said.
The fire was extinguished by the Riverside Fire Department after it was discovered by firefighters and a water hose line was quickly thrown onto the flames, Hopkins said. It took less than 10 minutes for the flames to be completely extinguished, officials said.
Despite the fire, the Festival of Lights remains a must-see for everyone in the region. If you are planning a trip to see the event, be sure to check the festival’s website for details on parking and road closures. The event is located in downtown Riverside and a lot of roads will be closed for the night. Luckily, there are several public lots and parking meters available during the event.