Ladysmith is a small town located on Vancouver Island and is home to the Ladysmith Festival of Lights, which was started in 1987 by a man named Bill Fitzpatrick. To receive approval for the Festival, Fitzpatrick pushed the commercial benefits of a Christmas festival, stating that it would: (1) put Ladysmith on the map; (2) increase the number of visitors; and (3) encourage residents to shop locally, thus reinvigorating Ladysmith’s economy in the wintertime.
And so, the first Festival of Lights was born! The inaugural festival received 500 attendees, which has now increased to upwards of 25,000 annually. People come along from all over the West Coast to experience the magic. 2017 marked the 30th Anniversary of the Ladysmith Festival of Lights.
We began working with the Ladysmith Festival of Lights in 2015. Our intention was to help them to transition from using incandescent lights to using commercial grade LED lights.
Their two main concerns with the incandescent lighting that they’d been using since the beginning were:
1. lack of durability.
2. power consumption.
Hundreds of glass bulbs were broken each year during installation and removal, and the electricity bill at the end of each Christmas season was thousands of dollars.
Our goal was to increase lighting durability and reduce power consumption at the same time. With the introduction of our durable and highly efficient LEDs, we were able to solve both problems. Now, they barely have to purchase any replacements, and their electricity bill has gone down by 90%.
There are now multiple corporate sponsors and private donors whose support is instrumental in keeping the festival alive. In 2016, a campaign called “Adopt a Tree” was created which allows donors to essentially purchase a string of lights for a specific tree on Main Street, and then have their name put on a sign at the bottom of the tree. It has been hugely successful and has allowed the Board to change the incandescent lights to LEDs on almost every tree along the boulevard.
The Ladysmith Festival of Lights is an institution on Vancouver Island, and we are so glad to be involved with such a wonderful community of people. The festival is entirely volunteer-run, with thousands of hours being dedicated to the project each year. If you would like to get involved in any way, head to www.ladysmithfol.com for more info. Here’s to the next 30 years!
The tree is named after the Festival of Lights’ first major donor, who was a key player in getting the event off the ground back in 1987. He passed away a number of years ago, and the tree was named in his honour.
The Nanaimo Airport Authority kindly sponsored the transition from incandescent lights to LEDs on the Chuck Perrin Tree. A few of our staff and one of our FestiLight red vans are featured throughout. You can also see Board President, Duck Patterson, remarking at just how durable our lights are.
Number of Bulbs Installed
Number of Lighted Strings Installed
Types of Lights Used
Number of Fasteners
Satisfied light installation clients
“The old generation of incandescence in the tree were 5 watt and there was 2500 of them. Now we’re putting in 3500 of these new LED bulbs that have the same incandescence, but the power consumption is minimal and they’re going to last forever. So that’s a saving…”
– Duck Paterson, Festival of Lights