Every year since I was 8, My family has spent Thanksgiving in upstate NY and then headed over the following Saturday to the Falls. That means that we were there for the first Winter Festival of Lights in 1983. This was long before casinos and mega hotels. This was when the Festival was even celebrated on the American side, people! We visited Rainbow Center and the Wintergarden. THAT long ago. In fact this is a picture of a display inside what WAS the Convention Center on the American side… and is now the Seneca Niagara Casino Resort…
(I have more if you want to see them!)
Needless to say, we have seen many changes over the years. We saw the Disney displays arrive, grow, then go. The kids my parents brought to Niagara every year have grown and gone on to marry. There is now a third generation discovering the festival of Lights in the form of my niece and nephew who are even younger than we were when we started this Thanksgiving tradition.
Here is what the display looked like in 2011. My niece’s first trip…
There were Disney displays and that little village in front of Queen Victoria Place Gift Shop. That year that was a Carousel there too. She saw the animals and animated displays at Dufferin island that we always enjoyed. Noah’s ark was always a favorite. The dinosaurs didn’t make sense outside of the fact that they appeared around the time Jurassic Park was out. But I guess they have an appeal for little boys.
Speaking of “appeal”, let’s talk about the new displays at Dufferin (pictures below). While I appreciate the beauty, concept and engineering of the new displays – my niece started talking about “the banana”. I didn’t get it at first, but then I realized that the abstract centerpiece did, indeed, look like a banana being peeled.
Being a graphic designer and having worked in Marketing departments for 20 years, I could both appreciate what was being done here…and question what was being done here. I’ll expound on that in a later post, but for now, I’ll wrap things up by saying I had a wonderful time with my family during this trip. As always, Niagara kicked off our Christmas season with style, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
So long until next time, Niagara…..