LETHBRIDGE, AB – There was record attendance for the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Winter Light Festival this year.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and changing restrictions, nearly 20,000 people took in the display during its two-month run this winter.

That’s a 17.6-percent increase in visitation from last year’s festival.

Some of the highlights provided by the garden include:

  • 19,585 guests during our two month run, this is a 17.6 per cent increase from our 2019/2020 Winter Light Festival (16,654)
  • 167,316 lights, a jump from our 116,106 lights last season
  • 93% customer satisfaction from our feedback survey of guests
  • 20 sponsors, including our new title sponsor of Panasonic Canada
  • Full AHS compliance and approval regarding COVID-19 regulations with no cases traced to the garden

The garden credits the mild winter weather as well as being a fully outdoor experience during a pandemic for the jump in visitors.

Executive Director of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Michelle Day, says “being an outdoor location certainly has its advantages. However, we still had to do our due diligence to ensure our guests and staff felt safe and could enjoy this year’s display without the usual large crowds. We always thank those who make our Winter Light Festival their annual tradition, but it was even more important this year to provide the same experience during a time when many people needed something bright and positive to enjoy with their loved ones.”

Government lockdowns near the beginning of December initially put a question mark on whether the garden would be able to move forward with their fifth annual festival, but the staff worked closely with Alberta Health Services to ensure they were either meeting or exceeding guidelines and AHS’s approval ensured guests were kept safe while taking in their family traditions.