MERIDEN — Hubbard Park once again glows after the kickoff to another season of the Festival of Silver Lights Wednesday evening.
“This is one of our most anticipated events,” said Kathy Matula, recreation coordinator at Meriden Parks and Recreation.
At 5:30 p.m. crowds of people enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies, and candy canes given out by volunteers of Platt and Maloney’s interact club. While waiting for the lights, the YMCA’s Meriden Youth Theater performed 14 songs for the crowd. Songs included Christmas staples like “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
The group also performed songs from their upcoming musicals: “The Wizard of Oz,” “North Pole’s Got Talent,” and “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical.” For dates and tickets, visit https://myt.ludus.com/index.php.
“This is the last time this park is gonna be dark for the next month and a half,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati said as the crowd cheered. “This is truly a year-round accomplishment for all of Connecticut to enjoy as we have hit record numbers for this display over the last several years. Since the COVID pandemic, we have seen more traffic through Hubbard Park and the city of Meriden to enjoy this gem here in our city.”
“We are about to light it up again for yet another record-breaking year,” he added.
Scarpati then brought up his helper, 3-year-old Troy Zimmer from Meriden. After the crowd counted down 10 seconds, Zimmer pushed the button, illuminating Hubbard Park with different light displays.
Reindeer, snowflakes, cars, castles, and more were lit up for the community. According to Matula, there were two new displays this year, which were designed by employees of Meriden Parks and Recreation. “We have a new fisherman display at the lake and a beautifully constructed fireplace at the bandshell,” she said. After the lights went on, the crowd dispersed throughout the park, enjoying the displays.
Marie Burgess came all the way from Enfield with her brother Edward Burgess and friend, Markus Rosado. “I saw this on Facebook and I was so excited to see the lights,” she said. “I have never been to Meriden and I’ve never been to a light show like this one. I thought it was going to be small but it looks like the whole community is here.”
“I’ve been to Meriden before but never to this park,” Rosado said. “It’s cool to see the lights in time for the holidays.”
Hajar Raitab, of Meriden, came to the ceremony with her sister, nephews, and friend. “It’s great and I come every year,” she said.
Hector Cardona Sr., chairman of the Meriden Puerto Rican Festival and retired Meriden police officer, came to the event with his wife Sarah Cardona. The couple came with their dog Taco. “I come every year,” he said. “It’s great to see the lights and everyone in the community gather before the holidays.”
“We can feel the Christmas spirit already,” Sarah Cardona said. “We’re having a great time.”