The first visible sign of Cochrane Light Up being around the corner emerged in Cochrane’s Historic Downtown yesterday.

The giant 32 ft. Christmas tree is now up on the roof of Rexall Drugs, 305 1st St. W., and ready to be lit at the upcoming giant community gathering, Sat. Nov. 17.

The newly-formed Cochrane Rainbow Society and friends erected the tree with the guidance of Light Up chair Stephenie Shelstad. They have pledged to take over the responsibility annually.

Rob Halfyard, of the new LGBTQ society largely aimed at connecting people 40-plus, says it’s all about being part of the Cochrane community.

“I’m stoked,” says Halfyard. “It’s a really nice partnership. We’re doing something productive and we’re helping the community that we’re part of.”Raelle Rivoire, of the Light Up committee, working on installing the tree.

Raising the tree can be a daunting task and this year it went smoother than ever, says Shelstad. The tree was introduced five years ago to Cochrane's 34-year old Light Up tradition.

More Stepping Forward to Help

Shelstad says more and more community groups have been stepping forward to help with the Light Up celebration that serves as an unofficial kickoff of the Christmas season in Cochrane.

Besides the contribution of the Cochrane Rainbow Society, there’s already a workforce of groups in place to man the barricades, run water and supplies to the firepits and tend to the eco-needs.

“That has really taken a load off the number of volunteers we need. We still need volunteers but it cuts it in half.”

More volunteers for the many other tasks involved in orchestrating the event are currently being sought, she says. Those wanting to help can sign up on their website: www.cochranelightup.com. There you’ll find a signup sheet under the “volunteer” tab.

Three-Packed Hours of Light Up 

Cochrane Light Up runs for three packed hours from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. It's one of the highlights of the Christmas season and many take advantage of it to catch up with family and friends.

Santa will arrive on a fire truck and after a brief opening ceremony Shelstad and a representative of Trico Homes, this year’s sponsor of the tree, will pull the switch to light two trees, one real, the other artificial.

This year, they’ll be 18 firepots serving hot dogs and assorted other treats. Tim Hortons will have a mobile unit downtown serving coffee and they'll be hot chocolate at the firepits.

Town council won’t be dishing out hot dogs this year and instead will have a photo booth and will be offering marshmallows.

There have also been numerous other companies offering a helping hand for the event. Old Dutch has donated 12,000 bags of chips and generous pricing by Mark’s No Frills has made it possible to once again source the hot dogs locally, says Shelstad. Cochrane Rentals has come on board and are donating the use of their power equipment.

There will be no shortage of entertainment and activities. Stiltwalkers and a 10 ft. tall giant polar bear will be roaming the main street. The popular dancers from the Stoney Nakoda Nation are returning to perform in the town square and nearby award-winning chainsaw carver Brian Widahl will be carving an amazing bench onsite. Once completion, the carving will have a home at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.

There are a few changes. The giant igloo won’t be utilized and instead, three tents in different locations will house children’s activities.

Due to popular demand, horse-drawn hay wagon rides are returning. Organizers had contemplated dropping the rides.

There won’t be any fireworks this year but Shelstad says they have a surprise or two up their sleeve that won’t be revealed until the night of the event.

“You’ll have to be on the streets to see it,” says Shelstad.

Once again Light Up is holding an online auction and proceeds this year will be donated the Big Hill Haven, who is gearing up to establish a women’s shelter in Cochrane. Volunteers of the Big Hill Haven will also be selling tickets for a 50-50 draw.

Shelstad has been involved with Light Up for six years now and says the level of community involvement has changed drastically in that time.

“Everybody just looks forward to it being a good community event. People really find pride in being involved in this event. I didn’t have to track down a lot of people, people came to us.”

Last year over12,000 people filled the Historic Downtown to make it the largest Light Up yet.

Next up will be the Parade of Lights on the Historical Main Street, Dec. 8.

More Local News

Have You Seen This Missing 14 Year Old?

Cochrane RCMP is looking for help from the public when it comes to locating missing 14-year-old Faith Scheers. Last seen near Cochrane High School yesterday (March 21) around 3 in the afternoon,…

Guthrie Election Sign Targeted in Gleneagles

A large election sign promoting Airdrie-Cochrane UCP candidate Peter Guthrie has been dusted off, reinforced and is back up at the west entrance to the Gleneagles neighborhood. Another Guthrie sign…

Stay Off the Ice to Avoid a Tragedy

Cochrane Fire Services cannot drill the message in enough that residents need to stay off the ice. While no one should be on the stormwater retention ponds at any point, says Inspector Jeff Avery…

Free Cone Day Success at Cochrane DQ

Cochrane Dairy Queen was blessed with good weather for the first day of spring and fantastic community support. Tim Morrison, Owner of Cochrane Dairy Queen, says he was thrilled with the numbers at…

Council Seeking Feedback on Strategic Priorities

Town council is seeking public feedback on its proposed strategic priorities before giving them final approval. A public engagement station will be set up at tomorrow's Spring Farmers' Market, Mar.…

Fire Services Monitors Storm Pond After Low Hydrogen Sulfide Reading

Cochrane Fire Services was drilling holes into the ice covering the stormwater pond by Bow Valley High School this afternoon (March 20). Inspector Jeff Avery with Cochrane Fire, says they were…

FCP's Matthew Morrisey Doorknocking Here Saturday

Yesterday, Freedom Conservative Party (FCP) candidate Matthew Morrisey officially filed his nomination paper. Today he's at the FCP campaign kickoff in Calgary and this Saturday he's in Cochrane…

Work Progressing on Schedule for New Bridge

The most important thing to Cochranites about the new Bow River bridge is the town's report that it's on schedule to open in the fall of 2020. Town councils and local media got a glimpse of the…

Budget Does Nothing for Albertans, says Richards

By Leah Murray Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards believes yesterday's federal budget is designed to serve as a distraction from current Ottawa scandals and believes it does absolutely nothing for…

A Few Things You Need to Know About the Election

With the Alberta election set for Apr. 16, Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler has outlined some of the things you may want to know about the upcoming vote. Resler says this election…

CochraneNow.com is Cochrane's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login