Big, Bright and Lighting Up Monday Night
More downtown businesses will be wrapped in lights as annual holiday event expands this year.
For the past 16 years, Linda Lucaj has witnessed couples date, get engaged and get married. She has watched children grow up. She has used a wall near the entrance of her Main Street Deli to chronicle, with framed photographs, some of these happy milestones of her most loyal customers.
But starting Monday night, Lucaj, the deli's owner, will be a part of another milestone – this one of the holiday sort.
When the lights flip on for the next 35 nights in downtown Rochester, Lucaj's deli will be one of more than 60 businesses wrapped in the glowing show for the very first time.
"We knew it would eventually come up here," Lucaj said last week as workers hung multicolored lights outside her business. "Now it feels like downtown Rochester is whole."
This is the fifth year of the Big, Bright Light Show in Rochester. The lighted spectacle starts at the South Bridge and this year extends all the way to Romeo Road. Additionally, buildings on Fourth Street from Walnut to Water streets will be covered in lights.
Kristi Trevarrow, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said an overwhelming response to its call for light show sponsorships allowed for the additional lights, which in previous years stopped at University.
Trevarrow said more than 1.5 million lights have been hung.
The lights go on at 7 p.m. Monday during an opening ceremony at the corner of Fourth and Main streets. After that, they come on at 6 p.m. nightly through Jan. 2.
Monday night's festivities are called Lagniappe, a word that means something extra or unexpected; appropriately, downtown businesses will be giving away treats and other bonuses from 6-9 p.m. Horse-drawn carriages, Santa, reindeer and carolers will be featured around town.
Lucaj said she has watched an evolution downtown as businesses have grown stronger. The light show, she said, is a part of that strength.
"We're watching it unfold before our eyes. That's what Rochester is all about."
Season of giving: The Big, Bright Light Show is partnering with the Rochester Area Neighborhood House in a shoe drive during Monday's event called "Kicks for the Cause." A collection box will be available near the ceremony stage for new or gently used shoes for children and adults.