Even if your own tree is still in its basement box, there’s nothing better for getting into the holiday spirit than a big tree-lighting event. It might even inspire you to dust off those cobwebs when you get home!

Only a short, 15-minute drive from Calgary, the charming town of Okotoks transforms into a Hallmark-worthy winter wonderland. Their annual kick-off celebration never fails to deliver, and it’s the perfect ‘daycation’ if you feel like getting out of the city. 

Located in the quaint Alberta foothills, Okotoks has everything it needs to deliver wintery wonderland holiday charm. Since 1992, Light Up Okotoks has been the holiday kick-off event of the season, and you should really check it out this year. 

What to Expect

Light Up Okotoks
Photo via Light Up Okotoks

Grab your cozy, knitted hats and join the town in the downtown core on Friday, November 17, for wagon rides, warm firepits, choir performances, late-night shopping, and more! Be sure to check out the Spirit of Christmas artisan market and Gingerbread Station at the Okotoks Art Gallery, along with the Old-Fashioned Christmas exhibit at the Okotoks Museum!

The biggest tradition is the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, of course. This takes place at the Olde Towne Plaza at 7 PM, followed by a dazzling fireworks show finale at 9 PM in Lineham Park.

Event Cost

Light Up Okotoks
Photo via Light Up Okotoks

Light Up Okotoks is a free event, but community support is encouraged!

The Okotoks Food Bank has partnered with the RCMP this year for the Cram-a-Cruiser drive. Bring your cash and non-perishable donations at the corner of Veterans Way and McRae Street to lend a helping hand.

The Christmas Charity Truck will also be there to collect toy and cash donations in support of local children’s charities. Find them beside the landmark OKOTOKS letters.

Getting There

Okotoks is roughly a 15-minute drive from Calgary, depending on where you are in the city. Event parking may be limited, which is why this year, Light Up Okotoks has bus access. Park at the Foothills Centennial Centre and Seaman Stadium and hop on the Southland transportation bus to skip the hassle.

Bring on the egg nog and Santa hats. We’re ready for Christmas!


When: Friday, November 17 at 6:30 PM
Where: Old Towne Plaza, 50 McRae St, Okotoks
Cost: free to attend