Returning Lights: Seventh annual Westfield in Lights offers new activities

Lauren, middle, and Bradley Zelik pet Sven the reindeer at last year’s Westfield in Lights. Two reindeer will be present this year. (File photo)

Lauren, middle, and Bradley Zelik pet Sven the reindeer at last year’s Westfield in Lights. Two reindeer will be present this year. (File photo)

By Anna Skinner

For the seventh straight year, the tree-lighting ceremony Westfield in Lights will be held in downtown Westfield at 7 p.m. But along with the lights comes some changes.

For the first time, the event will begin two hours earlier at 3 p.m. to accommodate for the new activities, which include:

A wagon ride, similar to a hay wagon, can fit up to 12 people and is available every 30 minutes from 3 to 7 p.m. and takes riders through downtown Westfield. Carriage rides sold out in five minutes.

A wagon ride, similar to a hay wagon, can fit up to 12 people and is available every 30 minutes from 3 to 7 p.m. and takes riders through downtown Westfield. Carriage rides sold out in five minutes.

Wagon rides

In 2015, the popular horse-drawn carriage rides sold out in 45 minutes. This year, the rides sold out in five minutes. A new addition to Westfield in Lights is a 12-seat wagon ride running through downtown Westfield every 30 minutes throughout the entire event. Registration is completed at the event.

Train rides

A second track-less train will be added this year to accommodate for popularity and complaints of long lines. The route will change slightly because neither the trains nor carriages will travel under the lit arches along Hickory Alley this year.

The Snow Sisters will be a new activity offered at Westfield in Lights this year.

The Snow Sisters will be a new activity offered at Westfield in Lights this year.

Photo opportunities for children

Returning are the free photos with Santa taking place inside the Christ United Methodist Family Life Center, and the free photos with Frosty taken inside Westfield City Hall. A new photo opportunity for kids is the Snow Sisters, which will take place in the Union building, 136 N. Union St. Children will have the opportunity to take selfies with the princesses and enjoy decorations.

Vendors

Food vendors will return, with the Union Baking Co. being the official hot chocolate sponsor of the event. One new addition includes retail vendors in the parking lot of city hall. Retail vendors have been a part of Westfield in Lights before but not in recent years.

“We did a survey with attendees from last year, and that was a big topic people would like to see that we added to the event, so we are going to give it another shot,” Community Events Manager Kelley Wells said. “In the past, we had a couple of retail vendors, but we really wanted to play it up this year.”

Last year, approximately 3,500 people attended, and Wells said the city is expecting a steady increase.

Other events

Two live reindeer will be available, as well as the return of the Girl Scout gingerbread house competition. This year, gingerbread house voting will be done by pennies, so attendees are encouraged to bring spare change. All money received will be donated to Open Doors.

“We say it’s a downtown Westfield tradition,” Wells said of the event. “This is one of the events people in Westfield identify with the most besides Westfield Rocks the Fourth. It’s the second most popular event. It really is a tradition. People make a habit of coming every year. It’s fun and free for the most part.”

For more, visit enjoywestfieldevents.com.

A map of the festivities. (Submitted photos)

A map of the festivities. (Submitted photos)

Main Stage schedule

  • 3:20-3:50 p.m.: Christmas Stories with CarolAnn Woelfel
  • 4-4:20 p.m.: Westfield High School Band: Christmas Carol Ensemble
  • 4:30-4:50 p.m.: The Heartland Church Westfield Worship Team
  • 5-5:20 p.m.: Oak Trace Treble Choir from Oak Trace Elementary School
  • 5:30-5:50 p.m.: Silly Safaris presents Jingle John and Santa’s Reindeer Reserve
  • 6-6:20 p.m.: St. Maria Goretti Children’s Choir
  • 6:30-6:50 p.m.: Westfield High School Choir: Signature Sound
  • 6:50-7 p.m.: Mayor Cook will announce the winner of the Girl Scout Gingerbread House Competition
  • 7 p.m.: Mayor Cook along with Westfield’s Bicentennial Torchbearer’s Mic Mead, Steve Perkins and Sabrina Richards will light the Tree.

List of retail vendors

  • MeshXOXO
  • The Sisters Fashion Finds
  • Lil Bloomers Children’s Boutique
  • Spur of the Moment Creations
  • Kits and Kaboodle
  • Scentsy
  • Mary Mahan Makes
  • Usborne Books & More
  • Pam’s Tea Shoppe
  • Golden Drop Garlands
  • Diamonds & Tiaras Couture