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Bright Nights Illuminates the Holiday Season

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The holidays are about to get lit – pun intended. Bright Nights event supporting The Northern Lights Health Foundation’s (NLHF) is back for another year on November 30, December 1, 2, 3, 4 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. The drive-through light show is located at Abraham’s Landing, and is a ticketed fundraising event presented by Suncor, Syncrude’s Club 63, Athabasca Tribal Council, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), as well as other community partners. Tickets are $30 per car and can be purchased here.

Cindy Amerongen, NLHF Executive Director is excited for the event, which has now “doubled in size from last year.” She explains more on how it began.

“This is a third party event for the Health Foundation that started last year because Suncor, Syncrude Club 63, and the RMWB could not thank their family of employees at their normal seasonal events. We all got together and determined that the best way to hold an event of any sort last year was a drive-through light show. The partners were keenly aware of the Health Foundation's need to replace lost sponsor and donor funding from Festival of Trees, a cancelled Spring Fling event, as well as other activities that had been cancelled or curtailed. They chose us as the agency to receive four nights of usage of the Bright Nights site. We sold tickets for $30 and welcomed the community to see the light show.”

“The partners named above redirected their staff event budgets to fund Bright Nights and hired Angele Dobie of TriLuna Communications to put the event together. Angele created the project from scratch and brought on the lighting company and the other infrastructure sponsors to make the site work,” she recalled.

“Unable to host the large scale events for their employees and families again this year, at a meeting this summer we decided we would make the light show a few nights longer for 2021 and reached out to Athabasca Tribal Council to see if they would like two nights for their members to enjoy the show. We also added an additional night to the Health Foundation event to ensure more community members could attend.”

Last year’s festive occasion ran for 10 days in December. It featured light up and animated visuals of seasonal themes, with Buddy the Elf, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Despite massive weather fluctuations ranging from -32C to +14 causing flooding and freezing on the site, resulting in the cancellation of one of the community evenings, the Health Foundation raised just under $34K from tickets. They also received $36K from Suncor from their employee ticket purchases and donations.

Leithan Slade, Advisor, Media and Social for Suncor says, “We’ve had to rethink our approach to how we gather and celebrate during the holidays. For the second year in a row, Bright Nights will provide an opportunity for our employees, their families, and the community to safely enjoy a holiday event while following COVID-19 protocols. Along with our community partners, we hope everyone enjoys this drive-thru holiday light experience while supporting the Northern Lights Health Foundation.”

According to the official news release, “this year’s show has many new features to keep you mesmerized as multiple holiday themes come to life with hundreds of thousands of sparkling LED lights! At every turn, and in every direction, the magical route is overflowing with spectacular displays and animations. Bright Nights is a fun and safe family and guest experience with COVID-19 protocols in effect. Visitors will remain in their vehicles at all times and adhere to posted instructions.”

The Health Foundation will once again offer free vehicle pass to AHS staff to show their appreciation - they just need to show their ID.

Amerongen encourages everyone to attend.

“Many companies and volunteers worked tirelessly to create this show to bring tons of light and joy to the community. It’s a great way to share a family experience or even a date night. Who doesn't like a light show?”

We certainly do. Visit the Northern Lights Health Foundation website at: and their Facebook page @NLHealthFoundation for further information.


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.