What say we shed a little light on Black Friday?
You know, the twinkling kind. In glowing reds and greens and whites and all manner of festive colors.
The holiday shopping kickoff event with the very dark-sounding name isn’t the only thing going on in the aftermath of Thanksgiving Day. There are also several lighting ceremonies to be had this weekend, offering a chance to officially christen the 2018 Christmas season — without getting mugged for that last $35 flat-screen TV at Walmart.
Here’s a reminder of some of the places you can go to light up your life this weekend:
OGDEN CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
This is the big one, people. Dating back to the early 1960s, the annual display and festivities in and around Ogden Municipal Gardens on Historic 25th Street at Washington Boulevard is a holiday tradition not to be missed.
Gazillions of lights fill the trees, bushes and other vertical/horizontal surfaces in the park. A grand total of 67 adorable little cottages — sponsored and created by members of the community and featuring various holiday-themed scenes — are scattered throughout the park.
And it all start this Saturday with a dizzying array of events leading up to that fateful moment when the switch is thrown and the approaching winter’s darkness is banished.
It all starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with the Ogden Santa Run 5K. Hundreds of runners, dressed up like Santa Claus, dash 3.1 miles in this ninth annual race.
Race registration, at www.runsanta.com, is $36.50, which includes a Santa suit with hand, beard, jacket, pants and belt. There will be Christmas music blaring, and elf volunteers handing out refreshments at milk-and-cookies aid stations. Ages 8 and younger run free with a paying adult.
And even if you’re not a runner, watching literally hundreds of Santa Clauses barrelling up the boulevard is plain flat-out fun to watch — if impossible to explain to the small, believing members of your family.
And speaking of fun, the race is followed by the annual Holiday Electric Light Parade at 5:30 p.m., featuring lighted floats, vehicles, horses, bands and more. The parade starts at 22nd Street and travels south on Washington Boulevard to 27th Street.
The Christmas Village Opening Ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Ogden Amphitheater, 343 Historic 25th St. Honorary mayors of Christmas Village this year are the family of Perry and Sarah Huffaker, the Ogden City parks director and his wife who were killed in July 2017 when the small airplane they were in crashed on Interstate 15.
The Christmas Village Opening Ceremony follows at 6:30 p.m. in the Ogden Amphitheater, with the lighting of the municipal grounds, capped by the traditional fireworks display.
And it’s all free.
Theme for this year’s Christmas Village is “All Aboard,” in honor of the town’s railroad history and next years sesquicentennial of the driving of the golden spike. As such, this year’s scavenger hunt is a small train hidden in each of the cottages for visitors to spy. Visitors can vote for their favorite cottage display at the Ogden City website.
Christmas Village can be viewed nightly, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, through Jan. 1.
Santa Claus will be on hand for free visits from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, through Dec. 22. Free rides on the Mini Polar Express Train are offered the same hours.
Live entertainment is also scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, through Dec. 22, in the amphitheater. Santa’s reindeer will make an appearance from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 14-15.
“FIRST NIGHT” — TEMPLE SQUARE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
It’s a bit of a drive from the Ogden area, but the season’s festive light display on the Salt Lake Temple grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be turned on for the first time at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. The Cedar of Lebanon, a lifesize nativity scene, and live performances from local bands, choirs and artists will also be included.
The lights will glow on Temple Square, at 50 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., and from dusk to 10 p.m., daily through Jan. 2.
FANTASY AT THE BAY
The second annual lighting ceremony for the holiday display at Willard Bay State Park is planned for 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at 900 W. 650 North, Willard. Arrive with your decorated vehicle before 5 p.m. and get in for half price — not to mention earning a spot in the light parade.
Free hot chocolate, and the first 25 vehicles receive one free pair of 3D snowflake glasses.
The Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights will be on display from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, through Dec. 31.
THE LIGHTS ON SHERWOOD DRIVE
Santa arrives in this Kaysville neighborhood, 1098 Sherwood Drive, at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. The lights go on at 6:15 p.m. to kick off the free Lights On Street Party. Lights are on display nightly through Jan. 1. Tune to 99.9 FM for the full experience.
Also in Kaysville, at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, the city will hosts its “Lights the City” tradition, during which the city center lights are illuminated and visitors can enjoy hot chocolate, doughnuts and Santa. New this year will be the addition of the Grinch and Little Cindy Lou, the Kaysville Stroll with seasonal vendors and booths, and the Kaysville Theatre showing “Elf” to the first 274 people. Cost for the movie is $1, everything else is pretty much free.
AND THE LIGHTS GO ON AND ON …
If the above isn’t enough holiday lights for you, a couple of other cities already jumped the gun and held their lighting ceremonies this past week. So on the way home from one of the above ceremonies, you can drop by and see Roy City’s lights, at 5051 S. 1900 West; or Layton City’s Lights Before Christmas in Layton Commons Park, 437 N. Wasatch Drive.