Southeastern Connecticut is going to be shimmering in lights and sprinkling holiday spirit the holiday spirit this weekend.
Thousands of lights brightened Olde Mistick Village Friday night as part of the Festival of Lights.
The walkways were lined with luminaries. Treats, live music and a visit from Santa all helped deliver holiday magic.
“Everybody’s filled with love and happiness,” said Joyce Resnikoff, who co-owns Olde Mistick Village.
In Stonington, wreaths were being mounted to the wall and lights were shining brightly on Christmas trees as part of the Deck the Walls Festival.
“It’s just a great Christmas festival,” said chairwoman Kirby Williams.
The Stonington Garden Club and Stonington Historical Society are hosting the festival through Saturday. Money raised will help preserve public access to the open space by the two museums owned by the Historical Society, Williams said.
Those who attend can participate in a silent auction, buy holiday gifts from local vendors and artisans or bid to purchase donated wreaths.
Katherine Ballard, of Stonington got one with sailboats on it—a Stonington flair.
“It keeps the spirit of the town alive in the winter months,” Ballard said of the festival.
If looking for Christmas spirit, look no further than John Wilson, the owner of Sign Craft in Niantic.
He gave NBC Connecticut a look inside his Christmas float for the 2018 Niantic Light Parade. But its theme was embargoed until Saturday night.
“Hey, let’s build a fort. And you borrowed some wood or whatever. So we just build a fort every year,” Wilson said of the experience. He said his family and team started the float two weeks ago and they will be working up until the parade.
His floats are considered masterpieces by many in town. Wilson said he likes to hold them to a “Rose Bowl” standard.
He’s been participating in the parade every year for 30 years and “Frozen in Niantic,” “Dory – Finding Niantic,” “Peanuts” are among his many themes.
“There was talk at 20 years: 20 and done. And then at 25: maybe we’re done. Thirty years now… we got to keep going,” Wilson said.
Wilson is creating one of 40 floats in the parade, according to the Town of East Lyme Parks & Recreation, that’s organizing the event.
For the 30th year, there’s a firework celebration before the parade sponsored by Dominion starting at 6 p.m.