A short timeline and uncertainty over permits led Darvonda Nurseries to move its popular Glow Christmas festival from Langley to Abbotsford this year.
Abbotsford’s Tradex will host this year’s event, which will run from Dec. 5, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020.
Glow was created in 2017 as a festival of Christmas lights and family fun, held inside the Darvonda greenhouses in Milner at a time when they were partially empty in mid-winter.
But earlier this year, the Agricultural Land Commission ruled that Glow needed a non-farm use permit to operate for another year.
READ MORE: Glow Christmas festival moves to Abbotsford
That left the door open to a possible permit for this year’s show – but timelines were too tight, said Lawrence Jansen, CEO of Darvonda.
“We are going to continue to do the appeal,” he said.
To do that, Darvonda needs to first get approval from the Langley Township council for non-farm use. Mayor Jack Froese has already said he would be supportive of Glow continuing.
After that, it’s up to the ALC to approve or turn down the application.
There was too much uncertainty, considering the investment of a couple of million dollars the nursery was making in the show, Jansen said.
“We purchased the lights already weeks ago,” Jansen noted.
By the time a decision was made, it might already be the fall, he said. They’ve already cancelled plans for this year’s autumn harvest-themed Glow event.
The new location will be more expensive, but it will also allow the event to operate earlier in the day on weekends, because the Tradex, unlike the greenhouses, can be lit up even when it’s still daylight outside.
Jansen said it’s unknown right now what Glow will do in 2020 if the ALC gives permission for the Langley greenhouse site again.
“I think there’s definitely potential,” Jansen said of coming back to Langley.
Abbotsford is now set to glow later this year.
There will also be a Glow event in Vancouver this year, as the show expands to multiple cities and even heads overseas.
Last year saw about 120,000 people check out the festivities in Langley.
The 2019 theme for Glow Abbotsford is ‘Santa’s Sleigh Adventure’. Guests will help Santa and his elves find his reindeer as they explore fun new ways to deliver presents using hot air balloons, planes, trains, motorcycles and more. The event will encompass nearly 90,000 square feet, and over one million lights will be part of the many displays.
The festival also includes playgrounds, licensed bars, live music and holiday markets.
The Vancouver location is set inside the Harbour Convention Centre in the downtown core. The festival’s expansion also includes nine other cities, including Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Odense (Denmark) and two more additional locations still to be confirmed.