ATTLEBORO — One of the coldest Thanksgivings on record last year led to a lower than normal turnout to the first night of the annual Christmas Festival of Lights at LaSalette Shrine.
Still, a few hundred people gathered for the opening ceremony.
Thursday’s turnout should be greater as the forecast calls for much milder temperatures but strong winds. A high of 49 and low of 29 is forecast.
Last Thanksgiving the temperature dipped to 14 degrees, breaking the record low for the date of 15, and the thermometer was reading in the teens for the light display.
The display includes about 300,000 lights and holiday decorations spread out over 10 acres.
This year marks the 66th year for the light display, begun in 1953, with the theme this year being “Light of Hope.”
The festival runs until Sunday, Jan. 5. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m., and traffic is especially heavy on weekends, particularly around Christmas.
The International Creche museum, with hundreds of creches from around the world, is open from 5-9 p.m. weekdays and 2-9 p.m. weekends.
There’s also the Outdoor Creche of Bethlehem featuring a candle lit with a flame from Bethlehem, and concerts with Father Pat and various artists.
Father Pat’s concerts are 3 and 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday except Saturday, Dec. 7.
A trolley, hayrides and carousel are present from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Photos with St. Nicholas will be available from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the Welcome Center.
Admission is free but donations are appreciated.
Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.