15th annual Brighton Festival of Lights is Saturday

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By Christine Hollister

    Brighton’s holiday tradition, the Festival of Lights, is set to light up the city’s streets this Saturday for the 15th year.
    “This is truly the most family-friendly event you’re going to see in your life,” said Gary Montoya of the city of Brighton. “The community spirit you’ll see that day is unmatched.
    “Of all of the events we do each year, this certainly is the one that stands out,” he added. “The community has grasped onto it over the several years it’s been going on.”

    Events kick off Saturday with a free movie at the AMC Showplace Brighton Theaters at the Brighton Pavilions. As of press time Tuesday, Montoya was unable to release the name of the movie, but said it is a rated G, soon-to-be-released animated family feature.
    “This movie isn’t even out yet, so we’re really excited about it,” Montoya said. “We just want to stress that seating is limited, so please get there early.”
    At 11 a.m., the downtown Brighton businesses are opening their doors for their holiday open houses. Many are offering hot beverages and goodies, Montoya said.
    The Winter Festival kicks off at 2 p.m. at Brighton City Hall at Bridge Street and Fourth Avenue. Area families are invited to city hall from 2 to 4 p.m. for a variety of free activities, including visits with Santa, a petting zoo, hayrides, teddy bear tree and live entertainment. The Brighton Historic Preservation Commission will also be on hand for the Cup of History Tea, providing education and tours of City Hall.
    From 2 to 4 p.m., the Brighton Anythink Library will offer free children’s crafts. Beginning at 3 p.m., is registration for the second annual Paw/Pal Run sponsored by Platte Valley Medical Center & Ambulance and hosted by Platte Valley Track Club. The 1.5k fun run/walk will start at Main and Longspeak streets and is an opportunity to team up with “man’s best friend” for a run. Each runner must be accompanied by a dog to participate and entry fee is $10. Registration starts at 3 p.m. and the race will begin at 4:15 p.m. For more information and registration, contact coach Martinez at 720-422-0591.
     At 4:30 p.m., stop by the annual tree lighting ceremony at city hall, then be sure to find a spot for the day’s main attraction, the Festival of Lights Parade, at 5 p.m.
    The event began 15 years ago when Helen Rodriguez, now Brighton Armory manager, mentioned she wanted to start an activity to pull the Brighton community together over the holidays.
    The Festival of Lights Parade now attracts up to 20,000 visitors each year and is the largest nighttime parade in the region, Montoya said.
    “It’s quite the event,” he said. “There are 75 entries this year, and they are all lighted. It’s just something you’ve really got to experience.”
    The day’s activities round out with a performance of the holiday musical, “Christmas Again,” at the Brighton Armory at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 online or $7 at the door and can be purchased prior to the event at www.prairieplayhouse.com.
    For additional information on the Brighton Festival of Lights, visit www.brightonco.gov and under the ‘community’ link, click ‘festivals, concerts & special events.’
    This year’s Brighton Festival of Lights is sponsored by Title Sponsor: City of Brighton; Presenting Sponsors: Downtown Partnership Committee, Brighton Urban Renewal Authority, United Power, United Rentals; Premier Sponsor: Banner Press; Executive Sponsors: Brighton Blade-MetroWest Newspapers, Brighton Buzz, Colorado Credit Union, Lickety Split Car Wash, AMC Theaters of Brighton, Michael Ray Performing Arts Co., Platte Valley Medical Center and Ambulance, Gateway News; Associate Sponsors: Bella Sera Event Center, Best Cleaner Disposal, DJ TidalWave, Full Moon Productions, Gator Rubbish, Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce, Highway Technologies, Home Depot, Nolte Associates, Ready Mix, Tiara Printing, Val-U-Ads; Ambassador Sponsors: Allen’s Asphalt, American West Land Survey, Bomgaars
Brighton Feed & Saddlery, Brighton Smiles, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chick-fil-A, Community Reach Center, Copper Rail Bar & Grill, FirstBank, Heart Check America, Interstate Batteries, Lone Star Steakhouse, Mehaffy Brubaker & Ernst LLC, Pinocchio’s Italian Eatery, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Valley Bank & Trust, VFW Post 2841, Village Inn, Walgreen’s, Waste Connections; Partner Sponsors: Adams County Administration Bldg., Amalgamated Sugar, American Pride Coop, Anthony’s Pizza, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Arthur’s Brighton Grain, Azadores Restaurant, Boy Scout Troop #109, Brice Steele, Brighton Animal Clinic, Brighton Auto Clinic, Brighton High School, Burger King, Chapel Hill Church Youth, Dodge Sign Co., El Coyote Grille, Fuhgidabowdit Pizzeria, Guaranty Bank & Trust Co., High Country Cleaners, Hillje Family LLC, King Soopers-Brighton, Lambert Realty, McDonalds of Brighton, Merry Maids, Mister Money, More Music for Brighton, Mustang Lounge, North Elementary, Panaderia Azteca, Petrocco Farms, Robb’s Inc., Safeway, Sakata Farms, Serafini’s Pizzeria, Sherwin-Williams, Southwestern Investment Advisors, Starbucks – Bromley, Swink Family Trust, Taco Bell, Target, Tortilleria Cuauhtémoc, Wal-Mart, Wendy’s, Whiteside’s Boots.