December 22, 2015 - 8:00 PM
KELOWNA - The organizer of the first ever large scale Christmas light display in Kelowna says the numbers are so low he doesn’t see how they will ever be able to do it again.
Brad Pattison started Lights of Christmas Paws as a way to give families something special to do over the holidays as well as to help the victims of the massive Rock Creek wildfire that destroyed 30 homes in August.
“We were expecting… in this valley, we should be able to easily get 60,000 through the gates over a three-week period,” Pattison says. “No one showed up. The first night we had maybe 40 people.”
Pattison is left wondering what went wrong. He says they need around 20,000 attendees before they'll even consider doing it again next year.
“People are making excuses for me, they’re saying maybe it’s the first year... but I don’t care,” he says. “Every person I talked to says they can’t wait. But where are they?”
Pattison, a successful dog trainer and host of two television shows, paid for the majority of the cost for the display, which has 30 themed displays and almost two million lights at Waterfront Park and runs from Dec. 10 to Jan. 1.
“The people who do go rave about it,” he says. “We’ve had three marriage proposals, that’s how magical it is. Children love it, they’re in awe. It’s like Disneyland in lights.”
The event also features performances by Kinshira between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. as well as hot chocolate and coffee.
Pattison says they are now accepting donations instead of the flat $12 per person fee, in the hopes that will turn things around.
“We don’t want to exclude anyone,” he says. “The whole point is to raise money for the families who lost everything in Rock Creek. Insurance is taking longer than anticipated. Some properties have 30 acres and they have all those dead trees that have to be cut down, that’s a massive expense. Everything requires money to fix. That’s why we designed the Lights of Christmas Paws.”
For more information, visit the Lights of Christmas Paws website.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015