The Holiday Lights Trail of Niagara kicks off on November 27th at 5:30 PM in the parking lot of Sal Maglie Stadium in Hyde Park in Niagara Falls. This year’s opening ceremonies will feature entertainment, Santa Claus and fireworks along with local VIP’s and dignitaries. The annual event is put on by the United Way of Niagara and this year there will be over 60 displays in Hyde Park, lights and holiday displays on Old Falls Street and holiday displays along the historic Erie Canal in Lockport.
The City of Niagara Falls, Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Niagara County Legislature and the City of Lockport have been the main sponsors of the Holiday Lights of Niagara Trail providing the labor and dollars to maintain the annual display.
After the Niagara Falls USA Festival of Lights ceased operations in 2002, the Holiday Lights Trail of Niagara was created by the United Way of Niagara in 2004 and lit displays were set up in Oppenheim Park in Wheatfield. After three years the displays were moved to Hyde Park in Niagara Falls in partnership with the City.
Once the displays were moved to the City of Niagara Falls the project has grown and now features over 60 LED lit displays in Hyde Park. In 2012 there were lights and displays added along Old Falls Street and the Erie Canal in Lockport. Businesses have been encouraged to decorate their store fronts in order to make the City of Niagara Falls and Lockport holiday destinations for families to enjoy.
United Way of Greater Niagara President Carol Houwaart-Diez and Jerry Wolfgang have been the organizers behind the Holiday Lights Trail from the beginning. Jerry Wolfgang was also the Chairman of the Festival of Lights that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Niagara Falls for some 20 years before it ended in 2001 and chaired the annual Christmas Parade in the South End on the opening festival weekend.
Over $140,000 has been raised by the United Way through the Holiday Lights Trail and proceeds have gone back into the community as well as purchasing new LED lights for the displays.