This year’s Light Up Louisville festivities will be expanded to 40 nights, with activities, light shows, and a special new attraction. In addition to a new location and a nightly light show, this year’s expanded Light Up Louisville event will feature another first: a skating rink, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today. For its 32nd year, the city’s annual celebration launching the holiday season is expanding and moving to 4th Street, creating a four-block festival of lights set to music between the Galt House and Fourth Street Live.
Light Up Louisville begins the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23), with the arrival of Santa Claus who will help illuminate downtown Louisville, followed by fireworks – all centered at new locations – starting from 4th and Main Streets all the way to Fourth Street Live.
The big transformation is the addition of the 40 Nights of Lights component featuring a nightly light show set to music on 4th St. Along the corridor, tree and street lights will be synchronized with the main music and light shows at Fourth Street Live and the Galt House Hotel . The nightly spectacle also includes light projections on buildings along 4th Street.
“Louisville is a city known around the world for our festivals and events; it’s part of our city’s appeal and quality of life,” Fischer said. “With our expanded Light Up Louisville, we’re keeping alive the tradition that families have enjoyed for years and adding more lights, excitement and activity. We’re creating an entire corridor that will connect Fourth Street Live to the Galt House and Main St. entertainment area to bring more citizens and visitors downtown to celebrate the season.”
A new holiday activity that people will enjoy, Fischer said, is the addition of a skating rink in the heart of Fourth Street Live. The rink will use a synthetic ice which will ensure its availability throughout the holidays even if outdoor temperatures stay above freezing. The fee for skating is $5 an hour for adults, $3 for children under 18. Daily rates are $10, and a season pass is $40. Skates will be available to rent for $2.
In another first, Light Up Louisville and 40 Night of Lights will help ring in 2013 with a light show and fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Light Up Louisville is presented by Christmas at the Galt House Hotel, Fifth Third Bank, Fourth Street Live, and LG&E.
“Christmas at Galt House Hotel is excited to see Louisville growing their Light Up Louisville holiday event to 40 nights,” said Mary Moseley, CEO and president of Christmas at the Galt House Hotel and The Al J Schneider Company. “It has the potential to grow to a spectacular event drawing thousands of area residents and regional tourists to celebrate Christmas in our city. This is a great addition to our nationally recognized Christmas event."
“This is the one time of the year when people of all faiths come together with love and compassion to celebrate their beliefs,” said Tom Partridge, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Kentucky). “Fifth Third is proud to sponsor the community tree, celebrating inclusion and the joy of this holiday season. The community tree will be located outside Fifth Third Bank on Fourth Street Live and we invite everyone to join the celebration.”
“Fourth Street Live! is excited to be part of this year’s transformation of the long standing Light Up Louisville tradition and the addition of the 40 Days of Lights celebration on Fourth Street. This holiday season Fourth Street Live! will be hosting fun for all ages with music and lights, fireworks, the community tree, and an ice skating rink. We look forward to welcoming all Louisvillians and visitors to our city to join in this exciting holiday celebration” said Mike Leonard of Hogan Real Estate – the Cordish Company’s local partner at Fourth Street Live!
“We believe the key to being a good corporate citizen is giving back to the communities we serve and we’re pleased to sponsor Light Up Louisville for the ninth year,” said Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU Energy LLC. "We’re proud to continue to help bring this wonderful free event to the community and excited that it is evolving into a month-long celebration.”
Light Up Louisville activities on Nov. 23 begin at 2 p.m. with the Run, Run Rudolph 5K race, which starts on 4th just south of Main. The race fee to participate is $25 with part of the proceeds benefitting the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation. Participants will receive a long sleeve T-shirt. Register online at www.lightuplouisville.org .
The annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Parade gets underway at 6 p.m. Parade units will be decorated in festive lights and will include bands, carolers, car clubs, floats, children’s groups and civic organizations. The parade route runs along 4th Street from Liberty to Main Street.
Santa Claus is expected to arrive at 8:30 p.m., joining the mayor to insert the magic plug and turn on thousands of lights on buildings and trees of all sizes including the official community tree which will be at its new location just south of Liberty St. on 4th.
Fischer said the city is looking for someone to donate the “Community Tree,” which should be a spruce or fir, 40 to50 feet tall and well-shaped. The city will cut and transport the tree to its prominent spot on 4th St. next to the Fifth Third Bank building. Persons interested in donating a tree should call MetroCall 311.
There will be an opportunity for families to sign a large community card for military men and women serving overseas and to write individual letters to the troops.
After the lights and fireworks, children can have their photos taken with Santa at the Galt House.
"Louisville Third Century is thrilled to be associated with this expanded holiday celebration. Everyone will get a smile on their face, and a little surge of goodwill in their heart, when they will see a holiday glow like Light Up and 40 Nights of Lights," said Lawrence Jones, president at Louisville Third Century.
Toys for Tots
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps will again be stationed at Light Up Louisville to accept donations of unwrapped new toys for Toys for Tots. The Marines will be collecting near the main stage at 4th and Main.
Saturday night “Community Performances”
As an added attraction to the entire community, special performances featuring a diverse lineup of local performers will be held on three consecutive Saturday evenings during the “40 Nights of Lights.” Shows will be Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. along the 4th St. corridor.
Spirit of Jefferson Cruises
The Spirit of Jefferson is offering two “Light Up Louisville” cruises on Nov. 23. A pre-Light Up cruise will board at 2:30 p.m. and cruise from 3 to 4:30 p.m. After the lights and fireworks, you can walk down to the waterfront wharf for the popular Light Up cruise. Boarding time is 9 p.m. with the cruise from 9:30 -11 p.m. Both cruises are $15 per person. Visit www.belleoflouisville.org  for information or to book tickets.
Holiday animal adoptions
You can help a wonderful animal find a home for the holidays at this year’s Light Up Louisville. Louisville Metro Animal Services will have several adoptable pets and photos of additional available dogs and cats at their Light Up Louisville booth. Individuals who make plans to adopt a pet or add an additional family member at Light Up will qualify for a discount off the normal adoption fee.
Holiday trees at Metro Hall
Louisville Metro Hall will again be decorated and lighted for the holidays outside and inside. During the 40 Nights of Lights, Metro Hall will feature a colorful display of trees decorated by children from the 12 Metro Parks Community Centers and nearby neighborhoods.
In addition to presenting sponsors, Christmas at the Galt House Hotel, Fifth Third Bank, Fourth Street Live! and LG&E, additional support is provided by Louisville Third Century, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Budweiser, Caldwell Tanks, Hyatt Regency and Waste Management. Media sponsors include Lite 106.9, 107.7 SFR, New Country Q103.1, Country Legends 103.9 and MetroTV. Special thanks to AXXIS, Inc. and the Belle of Louisville.
For more information about Light Up Louisville, call MetroCall 311 or visit www.lightuplouisville.org .