Last Chance to See the Festival of Lights

Don't be left in the dark

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Sunday night marks the end of Riverside's renowned Festival of Lights.

By 5 a.m. Monday, the 3.5 million twinkling, blinking bulbs that have illuminated the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, as well as the downtown Main Street pedestrian mall, since the day after Thanksgiving will be switched off.

This was the festival's 18th straight year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the area.

Mission Inn owner Duane Roberts canvasses the hotel in Christmas lights, decorations and hundreds of animated figures, including elves, toy soldiers, nutcrackers and angels.

The city of Riverside appropriated $389,000 for the festival.

The money helped pay for a 45- by 90-foot ice skating rink on Main Street, between Mission Inn and University avenues, as well as lights and special events on the mall.

Riverside's Dickens' Carolers have made the rounds during the monthlong festival, singing traditional Christmas favorites. There have also been horse- drawn carriage rides, a Santa's workshop and an assortment of vendors selling food and crafts, according to organizers.

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum added to the festival's fun fare this year with a Starfleet simulator ride, a feature of the museum's current showcase -- "Star Trek The Exhibit: Where Science Meets Science Fiction."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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