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Arts & Culture

Festival of Silver Lights returns to Meriden’s Hubbard Park on Nov. 24

Festival of Silver Lights returns to Meriden’s Hubbard Park on
Dave Zajac
/
Record-Journal
Parks maintainer Sal DiDomenico installs new lighting on an owl display while preparing for the annual Festival of Silver Lights at Hubbard Park in Meriden, Wed., Nov. 10, 2021. The owl display is one of dozens featured in scenes throughout the park. There is no opening ceremony for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

MERIDEN — The city’s iconic Festival of Silver Lights returns later this month with new additions to the familiar displays but without an opening ceremony for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

“We just don’t like the idea of so many people in such a small area,” Park & Recreation Director Chris Bourdon said of the ceremony. “The lights will just come on with the coming of night.”

When the sun sets on Nov. 24, the park will be illuminated once again, following a year in which a record number of vehicles streamed past the displays seeking a safe respite amid a surge in COVID-19 cases at the time.

But unlike last year, when visitors were strongly discouraged from getting out of their vehicles, this year the public is welcome to walk in the park.

Bourdon said a new feature of the festival this year is the archway at the entrance to the park. Some of the overall display will also be reconfigured.

About 60% of the lights were put up as of Tuesday, Bourdon said, with workers focused on the aerial and water lights first.

The lights on the ground will be put up just before Nov. 24.

“Particularly the week before Nov. 24, will be very hectic,” Bourdon said.

Festival of Silver Lights returns to Meriden’s Hubbard Park on
Dave Zajac / Record Journal
A parks department worker proceeds under a new lighted arch installed as part of the Festival of Silver Lights at Hubbard Park in Meriden, Wed., Nov. 10, 2021.

The Festival of the Silver Lights is free and open to everyone, not just Meriden residents.

“Come as many times as you want,” Bourdon said. “We’ve heard a lot of people tell us that they go almost every day that the display is up largely because it is free and it makes the children happy to be there.”

Even though there is no opening ceremony, Mayor Kevin Scarpati said he thinks the Festival of the Silver Lights is a great way to bring families together.

“I think that this is something that you can do with just your family, coming out and grabbing a cup of hot chocolate and driving through to enjoy the lights,” Scarpati said.

“Even just walking up to what we’ve named Santa’s Workshop and peek through the windows to see what’s on display, looking at the Christmas trees on display underneath the band shell,” he said. “There’s a whole host of things for people to do and see and really enjoy and reflect on what these holidays are all about.”

Along with the Hubbard Park display, Bourdon said the area of Colony and West Main streets downtown will feature the usual display of wreaths, lights and garland on lampposts.

On the Meriden Green, there will be the downtown Christmas Tree and displays on the Silver City Bridge.

“While most people associate [the Festival of Silver Lights] with Hubbard Park,” Bourdon said, “it also does include the downtown area.”