RIVERSIDE: City invites performers to Festival of Lights

RIVERSIDE – Dancers, singers and musicians of every stripe with an interest in performing during the quarter-century celebration of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s famed Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside are being invited to apply for a spot in the lineup.

“One of the (festival’s) highlights is the opportunity for local and regional community performing arts, music and dance groups to participate,” said city spokesman Phil Pitchford. “School choirs, ballet folkloricos, instrumentalists, theater groups, carolers, dancers and more have been featured during the past 24 years of the festival.”

He said interested parties are welcome to fill out an application online at www.riversideca.gov/fol . Questions can also be submitted to organizers at specialevents@riversideca.gov .

The 25th annual festival will begin on Nov. 25 and run until Jan. 6.

Around Labor Day weekend, crews will start stringing Christmas lights and placing decorations around the Mission Inn, continuing work straight up to Thanksgiving.

Festival founder and innkeeper Duane Roberts began organizing the events in 1992, soon after he took ownership of the property.

This year’s fest will get underway with a switch-on ceremony, featuring a pyrotechnics show that illuminates the entire Main Street plaza. More than five million Christmas lights will bathe the castle-like inn and surrounding streets in multi-colored hues, staying on nightly until the first week of January.

There will be nightly horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice-skating and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus on the pedestrian mall fronting the hotel.

Most years, the festival draws about a quarter-million visitors.

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