The main tree is lit up at Bright Lights Windsor, Jackson Park, December 6, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

A bright beginning in Jackson Park (GALLERY and VIDEO)

Windsor-Essex’s fastest-growing holiday tradition is officially underway.

Hundreds gathered at Jackson Park Friday for the opening night of Bright Lights Windsor for 2019. The Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Garden and the surrounding areas have been transformed for the third year in a row, into a wonderland of lights and music.

Mayor Drew Dilkens was joined by his wife, children and parents in pushing the giant red ceremonial plunger, which lit up the 64-foot musical tree that is the centrepiece of the attraction.

In addition to the tens of thousands of colourful, flashing lights, Bright Lights this year has added some attractions based on visitor feedback. On Mondays, visitors can enjoy a sensory-friendly edition of the event. Lights will be on but sounds will be muted and strobe lights paused. Artisan vendors will be available selling their crafts at the east entrance to Bright Lights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Theme displays are also new, including Around the World, Windsor Way and Candy Cane Lane.

Another new feature is Jackson Park’s fully-renovated, accessible and temperature-controlled washrooms at the east entrance. Walkers and joggers will also be able to enjoy the park without the lights between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Sundays.

The mayor told the crowd that the free event has grown every year since it first started in 2017. About 60,000 passed through the Jackson Park gates the first year, then 100,000 the second year.

Bright Lights Windsor is open every night through January 6, 2020, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free.

For complete information, visit the city of Windsor’s official website.