An Airdrie festival that's been lighting up the night in December for 25 years has been named the Top Community Attraction in Alberta for 2021 by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.  

The Airdrie Festival of Lights won the prestigious award during the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction 2021 at a virtual ceremony Friday night.  

The Alberta Chamber received 270 entries for 13 awards.  Festival of Lights Society Executive Director Michelle Pirzek says it was an honour simply to be nominated as Best Community Attraction, but to win the award was indeed incredible.

"We couldn't have done it without the sponsors who stepped up, without our volunteers and our board.  To them, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts cause we didn't do anything without them.  It's really a team win, a win for Airdrie and a win for everyone."

2020 was the year that the festival celebrated its 25th anniversary.  That was 'slightly' derailed by COVID-19.  Now that they've had time to assess the season, Pirzek says even with the challenges of the pandemic, the year proved to be successful. 

"We still had 50,000 people come through our gates.  We had more than 300 volunteers who stepped up and contributed more than 2,700 hours to the event so we thought it was a success.  You just really don't know who's noticing, I guess."

Pirzek jokes that 2021 will be "Take-two on 25 glowing years."  She says, "We're 25 plus one and we're going to try to celebrate all over again this season and, you know what, if something happens this year then next year will be take-three.  We want a chance to celebrate with our community, with our volunteers and with our city.  We're just going to keep trying."

The Festival of Lights beat out the Banff Hospitality Collective, the Buckskin Emporium in Canmore and Gossamer Gallery and Gifts in Wabamum for the Community Attraction Award.


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