The Mission Inn Hotel’s 25th Festival of Lights Anniversary Celebration began with the lighting of the Mission Inn and a fireworks spectacular following after. At the lighting ceremony, over 5 million lights lit up the walls of the entire hotel. Over 75,000 people attended the celebration and gazed at the pure lighted beauty. This has been a tradition for 25 years and has been going strong since. They have special performances by many famous singers and performers, rides, games, shops, and much more. They begin with the lighting and fireworks on Friday, November 24th and end in a new year on Friday, January 8th. They may have a short festival but the streets are always crowded with people eager to see the show.
The festival has many fun activites you and your family can do each for every day that you attend the festival including games and rides. Some activities may include a ride on the ferris wheel, a slide down a bouncy house, and a skate on ice with your friends and family. There were many rumors that the ice skating activity would not be happening this year and would be closed for the season. This would mean that some families that very much enjoy the activity would not be able to do it this year. Thankfully, the ice skating rink was put up and is a fun family activity this year. Hopefully, it will occur many years after this year and it will stay fun and for happy families. Every person would line up on the street just to see and do each fun activity.
Both outside and inside of the Mission Inn were covered with Christmas tradition, lights, and decorations. In the very front of the Mission Inn’s entry archway there where 4 nutcracker statues moving with glee. Each unique, yet so similar to the one just right next to it on the right or even the left side of it. On the very backside of the entry archway was a large mistletoe just waiting for two people to come up and give a smooch to the other under its large green leaves and rosy red berries. On the inside of the Mission Inn, a gingerbread house sat on a large table near the counter. It an exact replica of the Mission Inn Hotel with all the walls and doorways and patios. It was made completely out of gingerbread, icing, nuts, and assorted types of candies. It smelled of gingerbread whenever you would get close to it bringing happiness to everyone’s heart. The pathway out to the shops had a little train and a large mailbox special for Santa when he comes to town. Lights hid everywhere, all around, and in and out of site but decorated the Mission Inn beautifully.
Along the crowded downtown streets, shop sat with doors open to the crowds with treats delicious and delectable enough to be eaten all the time. Stands set up especially for the event served hot cocoa, sweet with the taste of chocolate rushing down your now warm throat. There was cider and cold juices freshly made from the best fruits in Riverside. They served tacos bulging with meats, vegetables, and spices. Tamales sweet and savory melting in your mouth after each and every bite into the soft center. Though they where small, each shop served something special and homemade just for you and your taste. There was a little shop shaped like a small ginger bread house that would sell you gingerbread cookies, cakes, and cocoa. This shop was called the gingerbread house and would make everything right there. Smelling of fresh baked goods coming right out of their own oven. These shops all came with the spirit or Christmas and would come with the beauty of their own special recipes.
Not long into the night, the Mission Inn Hotel lit up the darkness as thousands of people flooded the streets only just to see the beauty and color. After fireworks danced in the sky to a song written just for the Christmas season and with people proud to be there that fine evening. As hundreds and fireworks danced into the darkest of night, the millions of lights too danced as they continued to light the darkness of the sky. Fireworks would come in colors so alike yet so different and would be the perfect beauty and color to light the sky with the joy they would bring to each child and person and happiness they brought to every family. As they ended a special surprise at the end lit up a twenty-five with at least a hundred lights to celebrate the special occasion.