Friday evening, one of the largest crowds in recent years welcomed the start of the Christmas season during Altona's annual Night of Lights. Held at the Civic Centre parking lot in downtown, dozens of families enjoyed a wiener roast on well-stocked fire pits, horse drawn wagon rides, and for the first time, fireworks coinciding with the lighting of the community's Christmas tree.

"On behalf of town council, we welcome you to the annual Night of Lights tree lighting celebration," shared Mayor Harv Schroeder moments before the tree lighting countdown. "Whether you grew up in the Altona area, or are new to the community, we are happy you could make it here today to celebrate the holiday season with loved ones and the community."

Also part of the ceremonies were 2023 Manitoba Sunflower Festival Queen Olivia Driedger and Second Princess Delilah Friesen.

"It honestly is just so cool," said Driedger when asked to reflect on the large crowd that came out. "I love seeing all these people come out for this event."

"I can't believe this happens every year, that this many people come out every year," said Friesen. "I like how everyone's talking to each other, and I think it's really nice."

Before greeting the crowd ahead of the Mayor's speech, both Driedger and Friesen reflected on favourite Christmas memories.

"Something in my family is Christmas Eve has always been very special, because we do little fondue nights, game nights and movie nights," Driedger said with a smile on her face. "That's always stuck with us. Our Christmas box and stockings, and then Christmas mornings are always super special, right? Spending it with family is the best."

"I like the gatherings," said Friesen. "I like talking to my family. I love the snacks,  being with the family, and all the cookies and everything. I just love it."

What are the pair's favourite Christmas snacks? You can find out in CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner's conversation with Olivia and Delilah, below.

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