Taylors Falls Light Festival offers Black Friday alternative

Billed as “a polar opposite angle from the craziness of Black Friday shopping,” the 28th annual Lighting Festival in Taylors Falls celebrates the simple charm of the holiday season.

This three-day event will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Nov. 23 to 25.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving the picturesque town of Taylors Falls on the St. Croix River transforms into a magical “Christmas card village.” The whole town will be lit up and simple pleasures will be offered.

Attend a wassail party or craft and bake sale. Tour the trimmed holiday houses. Explore a medallion hunt, eat steaming-hot booya, or listen to Mrs. Claus read at the historic library on Bench Street. And new this year, come to an outdoor screening of the movie “Polar Express,” complete with bonfire and hot cocoa.

As part of the Lighting Festival, the St. Croix Valley Orchestra will open its 22nd season with a winter concert at the historic United Methodist Church in Taylors Falls at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25.

These 30 players will present a celebration of sacred and secular music of the season including Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Scandinavian Christmas hymns, and selections from The Nutcracker, Babes in Toyland, and composer Leroy Anderson.

A free-will donation will be taken.

Another highlight of the weekend will be the official “Grand Lighting of the Village and Santa Parade” at 6 p.m. on Friday.

For more information visit www.lightingfestival.com.