Lights Under the Big Sky’ light up the night in Ronan
RONAN – For a few weeks this winter the Ronan Fairgrounds will be transformed into a sparkling holiday wonderland.
The third annual Lights Under the Big Sky event started Dec. 13 and continues through this weekend - from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 21.
Visitors touring the brightly lit fairgrounds, decorated with light displays in various themes, can warm up near several outdoor fire pits.
There will be live music and a variety of performers both days as well as a wide variety of gifts and holiday items from local vendors at the Christmas market.
Lights Under the Big Sky gives attendees a central location to buy items from local business owners for the holidays. In turn, the event helps local artisans and business owners connect with holiday shoppers.For the first time this year, the event will be held for two weekends, rather than the typical three, during the holiday season. Event organizer Sjaan Vincent said the change is an effort to avoid conflicts with other holiday events in the area.
“We’re going to do just two and hit it out of the park,” Vincent said.
The children’s area features free crafts and games. In the central courtyard of the fairground, visitors can find the North Pole. Santa Clause will be on hand each night to listen to Christmas wishes and distribute candy canes.
Local churches will reenact the story of the first Christmas. Live animals and actors will depict the scene of Jesus when he was born. Students from the Nkwusm Salish language school will perform Christmas carols in Salish. There will be a traditional Native American dance performance, along with a variety of Christmas choirs.
According to Vincent, the event attracts visitors from the highway 93 corridor and beyond. She knows of attendees who have traveled from as far as Kalispell and Darby. About 1300 children have attended the event.
Tickets at the gate are $3 per person. Children age four and under enter free. Families of six or more can pay $15 for the whole group. A full schedule of events is available at bigskylights.org/schedule.
Vincent said the event is right for anyone looking for something special during the holiday season.
“It’s what’s happening in Western Montana,” she said. “It’s a terrific community and family event.”