INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Northern Lights festival has returned to Incline Village and Crystal Bay, with an official tree-lighting kick off and day of events beginning Saturday, Dec. 3.
The day will begin with a Sip and Snack at the Country Club Center with opportunity to try tasty bites and drinks from Austin’s Restaurant, Cool Mess, EXP Realty, Fumo, Incline Spirits, Lakeside Personal Training, and Mountain High Sandwich Co.. The event is a part of a larger Sip and Shop event that happens every Saturday this month to promote local businesses, led by the Incline Village Crystal Bay Business Association and founder Linda Offerdahl.
“We have these Sip and Shops to promote shopping local business Saturday,” said Offerdahl. “But we didn’t have a community event.”
The Northern Lights festival was originally created to highlight Incline Village and Crystal Bay businesses during shoulder season, but according to Offerdahl, has become a staple in the community for the holidays.
“It started out as a vehicle to bring more people here,” Offerdahl said. “I think now it’s really settled into something that celebrates the season and allows the locals to come together for socialization.”
In order to bring the community together, this year, following the Sip and Snack, guests can walk over to the UNR at Lake Tahoe campus to visit Candy Cane Village on Patterson Hall Patio from 4-6 p.m.
The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District will be bringing Santa Claus and Mrs. Lolly Claus in to light up the Candy Cane Christmas Tree on their fire engine, and the pathways of the campus will be decorated with candy canes. IVCBA will be handing out candy canes, and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Captain Corey Solferino will be having cocoa with guests.
“It’s really meant to be something that celebrates that whole corner of Incline Village,” said Offerdahl. “We’re starting a new tradition of a tree lighting ceremony to bring the community together.”
The celebration will continue with a choral performance by Incline Elementary School Students and snow science presentations at the UC Davis Science Center. AAEW will be providing a selfie-station to take photos at, and the Incline Village Rotary Club will be collecting toys and donations for Toys for Tots.
The evening will conclude with S’mores and Happy Hour at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe from 6-7 p.m. with a story time with Mrs. Claus. The Hyatt currently has their Gingerbread House and Train Display up throughout this month of December, and will be in sights for guests.
There will be complimentary parking at the Hyatt main lodge from 3-8 p.m. on Saturday.
There will be more events throughout the month of December celebrating small businesses and the holidays throughout Incline Village and Crystal Bay, leading up to News Year’s Eve parties at Alibi Incline Public House, Crystal Bay Casino, Glasses Wine Bar, and the Grand Lodge Casino.
Throughout the month, there will also be the Deck the Halls Lighting Contest, which sees Highway 28 light up for the season in a way Offerdahl has never truly seen in her time living in the basin.
“I’ve been here 34 years and I’ve never seen lights,” said Offerdahl.
Now, the trees outside of businesses and the businesses themselves are lighting up the night for the season, and giving chances to win different awards, including the Griswold Residential Award for the brightest residential display and brightest business display, and the Most Creative, which will see the best themed merchant/business window display.
To learn more about the festival and to see the full list of events happening this month, visit northernlightstahoe.com/events.Residents are also invited to join in on the fun, and can decorate their homes for a chance to win a Griswold Award as well.