The Nine Nights of Lights festival was one of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing authorities to host a scaled back, ‘vaccinated-only’ version of the event in 2021.
For 2022, the event is back in all of its illuminated glory following the official launch on Thursday, December 15 at the Botanic Gardens.
A crowd, consisting mainly of parents and young children, came out in the early evening to view the near decade-long tradition of lighting up of the Gardens.
Director of National Parks, Rivers and Beaches (NPA), Andrew Lockhart, in his address, said while the COVID-19 pandemic and the eruption of La Sourfriere “put a damper” on the event, patrons this year are “unencumbered by the need to have covid-19 vaccinations to enter” and he urged the public to support the event.
“In this the seventh consecutive year of the hosting of nine nights of lights…we have made every effort to bring you a more diversified suite of activities geared towards the total satisfaction of you, our patrons,” Lockhart said, adding that the family is at the center of the celebration.
Chairman of the NPA Board of Directors, Gideon Nash said the arrangement of lights at the Gardens proves that the 2022 event is indeed “bigger, better and brighter”.
Nash also said, over the years that the event has been staged, the NPA has focused on improving the event each year.
He reminded patrons to keep the Gardens clean and take care not to damage the foliage, considering the Gardens is a “very integral part of our tourism package”.
It was around 7:30 p.m when permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Dr. Resa McBarnett gave the signal to flick the switch and light up the Gardens, much to the delight of the toddlers and children in the attendance.
The Nine Nights of Lights festival will continue until Thursday, December 23.