Downtown Rochester Lights Up at Lagniappe

Downtown awash in colors, lights after Big, Bright Light Show kickoff at Lagniappe.

Video credit: John McKay
Video credit: John McKay
Newly appointed Rochester Mayor Jeffrey T. Cuthbertson helped kick off the 2013 Big, Bright Light Show on Monday night at Lagniappe in downtown Rochester.

The mayor—along with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus—counted down from 10 to signal the official start of the eighth annual downtown light show, which features more than 1 million lights. 

"I think it's been a tremendous turnout, the lights went on perfectly, Santa was here, the stores are open for shopping, I don't think it could have gone a whole lot better," Cuthbertson said. 

True to the name of the event, downtown merchants offered customers Lagniappe—Creole for "a little something extra"—as a token of appreciation. Many local shops stayed open past their regular Monday hours for the event as potential customers flooded the sidewalks and crosswalks downtown. 

Several of the lights covered buildings along Fourth Street east of Main Street, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign dubbed "Miracle on Fourth Street," devised by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, which raised $28,160 in pledges to keep the area lit. The funds were sought because of reduced funding for the Big, Bright Light Show. 

"I think it's a great outpouring of support for the city," Cuthbertson said of the campaign. "When governments have to meet a lot of obligations to provide high-quality services, a whole bunch of Christmas lights sometimes fall a little further down the priority list, and it's great to see that people appreciate it so much that they're willing to open their wallets and assist with the project."

The Big, Bright Light Show will run 5 p.m.-midnight each day through Jan. 5, 2014.
John McKay December 03, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Steven, it was the Rochester DDA, not the city, that launched a Kickstarter campaign with community donations, and this fits the job description of the DDA. The DDA's job, according to its website, is to enhance the quality of life for Rochester residents through revitalization of the downtown district. The mayor stated in the video that sometimes when there are other needs, the lights move further down the priority list, but that he was happy to see fans of the light show step in to help keep it going. There are plenty of charitable efforts in Rochester, and many received a boost Monday from the large crowds at the event. At last night's event I spotted Salvation Army, Rochester Area Neighborhood House/Kicks for a Cause and Boy Scouts of America, to name a few.
Steven McKay December 03, 2013 at 07:55 PM
I understand the DDA structure, but I feel it painted the whole city in a poor light. The word has spread wide and far, and I am continuously hearing negative comments about it. Being a Rochester resident, I do appreciate the lights, but it seems that money could have gone a long way to help some of the less fortunate in our community, that is all. I understand the happy time of the year, but it is also a perfect time to reach out to some of the less fortunate people in our community.
David Gifford December 04, 2013 at 07:52 AM
I do find the cost tag staggering. If 4th Street costs $27,000, all of Main Street must cost several hundred thousand. It is certainly a great attraction but at what cost? Would that money be better spent on a parking garage and movie theater downtown? I get Steven's point though. Rochester is by no means a "poor" town. In fact it was just named top 5 wealthiest cities in Michigan and yet it was begging for money for Christmas lights. I do see how that can look bad and John, you bring up a good point too. There a many great service organizations in the area that help the less fortunate. (http://rochester.patch.com/groups/david-giffords-blog/p/bp--why-join-a-service-organization)
Cheryl Junker December 05, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Oh.....the thoughts of a downtown theater like Farmington, Plymouth and South Lyon.... makes me smile! Coupled with a quaint bookstore, this would make an awesome date night destination! Happy holidays everyone!


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