From WGRZ Channel 2 in Buffalo:
For two decades it reigned as perhaps Western New York’s premier winter time event. The Niagara Falls, NY Festival of Lights drew millions of tourists in a traditionally drab time of year for the hospitality industry, and once captured the American Bus Association’s coveted designation as the number one event in North America.
Beginning in 1981 travelers descended in droves upon the Falls for the festival’s annual 44 day run starting Thanksgiving weekend, to see the electric light parade, and the more than 1-million lights which twinkled in the Falls’ South End as well as indoor animated displays, concerts, and athletic events.
But by the time the new century began, the luster had worn off. Competing events sliced into the festival’s once unique status and corporations, notably Carborundum and Occidental, left Niagara Falls taking their sponsorship dollars with them.
Now, about a decade after the once vaunted event went dark, there are plans being laid for its return.