If you love the charm of a small town but want to go big for the holidays, there are tons of exciting holiday festivals happening around BC to make note of. After all, nothing says it’s the holidays like a visit to a quaint downtown adorned in Christmas lights. Stroll through light displays, sip on hot cocoa as you shop at local boutiques, take part in Christmas tree lighting festivities, and more at these 7 small-town holiday festivals in BC.
We’ll start with one of the larger ‘small towns’ on this list. Downtown Abbotsford’s annual Winter Jubilee is just a few weeks away on November 18th, at which time the community gathers to enjoy a massive Christmas tree lighting, face painting, live music, Letters to Santa, cookie decorating, and more.
When: Saturday, November 18th
Where: Downtown Abbotsford, BC
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Looking for a fun road trip to kick off the holiday season? Head to the Rutland Centennial Park in Kelowna on November 25th for an afternoon of local vendors, crafting, live entertainment, carolling, free photos with Santa, food trucks and more. Oh, and the lighting of a giant Christmas tree at 4:30 p.m.!
When: Saturday, November 25th
Where: 190 McIntosh Road, Kelowna
From the last Thursday in November until the second Sunday in January, the town of Ladysmith will be alight with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Visitors can walk or drive down First Avenue to take it all in, and even participate in this year’s Light Up Parade on November 30th, which kicks the festival off.
The parade will include a craft and artisan fair at Aggie Hall, street entertainment and concessions, and of course, the arrival of Santa at 6:30 pm.
When: November 30th to January 14th
Where: Ladysmith, BC
While not the smallest of towns on this list, Squamish does have an exciting new festival of lights to note. Rose Park will soon transform into the ultimate winter wonderland as part of a new experience “Squamish at Dusk,” which is equal parts festival of lights and art exhibition.
Guests can expect to enter a magical tunnel of lights, surrounded by glowing trees and a deep, sparkling grotto. There will also be a mesmerizing ‘under-the-water-themed installation, which promises to be immersive.
When: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from November 23rd to December 10th
Where: 38550 Loggers Lane, Squamish
Cost: $10-$15 per adult, $7 to $10 per child
The small town of Agassiz-Harrison will host its annual Winter Light Nights at Pioneer Park this season, where visitors can stroll amongst the large, illuminated trees, pass by a decorated gazebo, and head to the quaint downtown shopping core.
According to Tourism Harrison, The District of Kent will be putting on special events and activities throughout the Winter Night Lights, so stay tuned for more info as it comes.
When: December 1st to 31st
Where: Agassiz, BC
Fernie is kicking off the season with a ton of festive events on Saturday, December 2nd, which include pictures with Santa at its historic downtown, carolling, an artisan fair and mug gallery show, and a holiday window decorating contest. Oh, and fireworks and live music at 8 pm at Station Square!
When: Saturday, December 2nd
Where: Fernie, BC
Looking for a festive Santa parade to check out now that Vancouver’s has been cancelled for 2023? The 16th annual Surrey Santa Parade of Lights is on this year, bringing a mix of decorated antique cars, trucks, and floats to the historic town centre of Cloverdale.
When: Sunday, December 3rd
Where: Cloverdale, BC
Happy holidays, BC!