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Festival of Lights kicks off the holiday season in Battle Creek

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Battle Creek lit up this weekend with the annual International Festival of Lights. 

From now until January, twinkling lights will adorn downtown and Christmas music will fill the streets at night, a three decade-long tradition. 

Alyssa Jones, a Battle Creek native, scoped out the light show Sunday night with her dogs Reign and Gunner.

“I love it. It’s my favorite. I keep saying that I want to come down here and take them for a walk through the lights, and tonight was a good night because it just started, it’s not real cold, and there’s not a lot of people,” Jones said.

Joanie McQuiston and her family, who live in the Benton Harbor area, stopped in Battle Creek Sunday night on their way home from Frankenmuth just to see the lights.

“We were up here a couple years ago for a Christmas parade,” she said. Her daughter, Destiny McQuiston, had performed in the parade as a baton twirler. 

“We wanted to come see them again, it’s so pretty up here,” she said.

The Harper Creek Optimist Club’s annual Christmas Parade usually coincides with the start of the International Festival of Lights. Like many cherished traditions, the parade has been postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

But the spirit of the holiday season is still alive in Battle Creek.

Letters to Santa can be dropped off in the red mailbox outside of the Welcome Center.

The Battle Creek Community Foundation, in partnership with Battle Creek Communication Collaborative, is launching a holiday web series called “Santa Claus’s Wonderful Winter Festival Variety Show.”

Airing Nov. 27, families can tune in each Friday for five weeks for a look inside Santa’s workshop.

The episodes are interactive and activity bags to go along with the series are free and can be picked up at New Level Sports Ministries, Willard Library, Athens Community Library and Homer Public Library as supplies last.

The web series can be streamed on the Facebook pages of the Battle Creek Community Foundation, the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Battle Creek.

Contact Alyssa Keown at Follow her on Twitter at @alyssa_keown. 

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