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Grand Illumination - Downtown Holiday Lights Festival

Home Forums Events Columbus Festivals Grand Illumination – Downtown Holiday Lights Festival

This topic contains 25 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Walker Evans Walker Evans 1 year, 7 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 16 through 26 (of 26 total)
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  • #470665

    Asch
    Member

    From what I had seen on the internet, I thought all the festivities were at the Commons, and I wasn’t the only one. We were there at 5… and my kid got several carousel rides all by himself because no one else was there. Then as families started trickling in, we had our free hot chocolate… and the lights all came on at 5:28 without an announcement or anything (and I was thinking the ceremony was going to be there)… I was so confused. People kept saying “What just happened? Why are the lights on? I thought there was a ceremony? I thought there was more than a carousel & hot chocolate/cookies? This isn’t what I thought It’d be…”

    They definitely need to do a better job next year of explaining that the festivities are split (most families with young kids are not going to walk between the two parks in the frigid cold, so they’ll just pick one) if they insist on splitting things like this, they really need a little old fashioned street car (not necessarily with tracks) or something to shuttle people back and forth.

    Disappointed in how they handled that, BUT I also understand that the first year of anything is going to be rough, and so as long as they fix that next year, it’s fine. I am always appreciative of free hot chocolate & cookies, and all the kids loved the carousel and rode it over and over again. Outdoor space heaters next year PLEASE! We were so numb I tried to go in the Commons bathrooms just to warm up a bit, but they were not open (???).

    The lights were nice (although the tree was out alone in a dark field and still not big enough to really command much attention at all, I’m not even sure if I saw it after the lights went up), and of course that damn blank wall! Hoping that when they’re done with the construction over there, they will hang giant posters and light it up nicely.


    My friend Molly grabbed my camera in the parking garage and took this one. (Gotta give her credit since she obviously is better at my camera than I am).

    #470666
    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans
    Keymaster

    Too bad the helicopters were so loud at Bicentennial Park! It was annoying to have that constant drone overtop the children singing and well, the entire thing really.

    #470667

    futureman
    Participant

    Anne said:
    Too bad the helicopters were so loud at Bicentennial Park! It was annoying to have that constant drone overtop the children singing and well, the entire thing really.

    +1

    That was extremely annoying.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see the large turnout as well.

    #470668

    M.O.
    Participant

    The “complete schedule” on the Scioto Mile site was merely a vague graphic with plenty of events and times and precious little info on where those events would take place. It’s no wonder one of the above posters was all alone in Columbus Commons during the festivities. Also, planning this right during rush hour guaranteed a pretty select and comparatively small crowd.

    We passed on Friday but headed down tonight. Nice, tastefully-done lighting & great dinner at 229. The area is still begging for more “connective tissue” (CoJ’s is a start) to knit together the Brewery District, Mile, & Arena. If we still had the mall and Lazarus I’m sure this beautiful riverfront makeover would be an instant smash, but starting over trying to connect this piddly field called “Columbus Commons” is going to be a tough road. Very few people out even on a warm night. CoJ’s with a few lonely hipsters pretending to talk to somebody on their headsets & more safety patrol than civilians at the park.

    #470669
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Not sure what time you were out, but between 5:30 and 6:30 there were at least a few hundred out and about between both parks and walking around in between. When we drove past CoJ on the way home (around 6:30) is was pretty busy there as well. I didn’t stop to check to see what their clientele looked like and whether or not I should be judging them or insulting them, so YMMV.

    I do agree that the areas in between the park need more “connective tissue”. deNOVO is a good addition, and I’ve heard that the liquor store there is trying to turn their image around (they’ve often got an A-frame sign out on the sidewalk advertising the fact that they carry Watershed Gin & Vodka), though they don’t seem to be open very late.

    What would really help is a couple of extra specialty retail shops in some of those empty spaces along High and along Wall Street as imagined by The SID:

    Wall Street “Inspirations” to Spark New Retail Ideas

    #470670

    M.O.
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Not sure what time you were out, but between 5:30 and 6:30 there were at least a few hundred out and about between both parks and walking around in between. When we drove past CoJ on the way home (around 6:30) is was pretty busy there as well. I didn’t stop to check to see what their clientele looked like and whether or not I should be judging them or insulting them, so YMMV.

    I do agree that the areas in between the park need more “connective tissue”. deNOVO is a good addition, and I’ve heard that the liquor store there is trying to turn their image around (they’ve often got an A-frame sign out on the sidewalk advertising the fact that they carry Watershed Gin & Vodka), though they don’t seem to be open very late.

    What would really help is a couple of extra specialty retail shops in some of those empty spaces along High and along Wall Street as imagined by The SID:

    Wall Street “Inspirations” to Spark New Retail Ideas

    We were out in this time window (Saturday) but didn’t see the hundreds. We were in CoJ about 6:30 — you could have stopped by and judged and insulted me and I would have deserved it. I was wearing a very pretentious black leather motorcycle jacket and geotagging my lukewarm decaf on the latest touchscreen Blackberry. (I know. Points off for still using a Blackberry).

    This is more wishful thinking than community planning, but it would be nice if we did more to preserve viable existing businesses so that this town could truly develop some character instead of patchy boom-bust flavor-of-the-decade planned retail themes. City Center was our best shot at that, IMO. Once an area is packing people in and we’re not sending the parking meter guy out at all hours to scare them off we’re on our way to a plan.

    #470671
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    M.O. said:
    This is more wishful thinking than community planning, but it would be nice if we did more to preserve viable existing businesses so that this town could truly develop some character instead of patchy boom-bust flavor-of-the-decade planned retail themes.

    I don’t really see that being a problem. There are plenty of existing businesses Downtown with plenty of empty spaces around them. Shouldn’t have to displace anyone to make room for new additions. At least not at this point in time.

    M.O. said:Once an area is packing people in and we’re not sending the parking meter guy out at all hours to scare them off we’re on our way to a plan.

    It’s going to be a long time before the residential population in Downtown is large enough to support a variety of non-restaurant retail. I’d argue that the Short North doesn’t even get by in a lot of instances with local-only traffic. A lot of money is made by destination shoppers headed there from other areas.

    Downtown should have the same approach. It should be a shopping district and an arts district and an entertainment district and everything else for people of all neighborhoods. We need a few more solid unique anchors to get things moving. People will come out when they have a good reason (Food Truck Festival?) so they really just need more day-to-day reasons.

    I’ve often wondered if a larger space like the old Madison store could be converted into an urban mini-mall format where the the entrance provides access to a dozen small shops housed under one roof. Just wishful thinking, but I think it’s going to take a large yet non-chain effort like that to really accelerate Downtown retail.

    #470672

    M.O.
    Participant

    German Village and Brewery/Miranova are a good start on residential. Still lots to span between that and the Arena District, and the existing retail in that stretch needs a crowd factor to stay open past six. Mini-malls can be successful (North Market) or perpetually on death watch (current version of the Cleveland Arcade). Low rents and flexible leases couldn’t hurt this kind of jumpstart.

    A few years back we had craftsmen from all over the world down on the riverfront selling their wares in time for Christmas shopping. Thousands of people at those events despite the freezing temps (hot chocolate stands and brat grills eased the pain), so little doubt we could replicate today using the mile/CC. While we can’t plan development on roving flea markets, regular events would certainly reestablish crowds that would incent new and old retail in this area. The AD & SN both depend on locals and suburban pop-ins to thrive, so walkable, driveable, bikeable counts.

    #470673
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    M.O. said:
    A few years back we had craftsmen from all over the world down on the riverfront selling their wares in time for Christmas shopping. Thousands of people at those events despite the freezing temps (hot chocolate stands and brat grills eased the pain), so little doubt we could replicate today using the mile/CC.

    Sounds somewhat similar to what is planned for the “Holiday Fair” Dec 16-18:

    http://www.columbuscommons.org/happenings/holiday-fair/

    Though with more of an emphasis on entertainment rather than shopping. Would love to see more merchants involved in this event. Maybe for next year?

    #1105640
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Ok… four years later and this thing was SLLLLAAAMMMMMED tonight.

    I think the light show was vastly improved (they said over 500,000 lights, compared to the 100,000 in 2011) though I still heard some people joking that it was underwhelming. I think maybe it’s too spread out. That, or it needs some extra oomph (more spotlights? fireworks?) when the “flipping the switch” moment takes place. Because just turning on Christmas lights by itself is not really that exciting.

    That being said, it literally felt like a Red White & Boom volume of people in and around Bicentennial Park. You could barely walk it was so crowded. The streets were jam packed with cars and we noticed that both the Center for Architecture & Design and MoJoe Lounge were both crazy busy. The Commons was much more spread out, but overall, the number of people had to be at least 20,000 crammed into the area right at 6pm.

    Kudos to those who have ramped this up. I don’t think we had been since 2011, but it was vastly larger this year than back then. Looking forward to seeing how this continues to grow!

    #1106021
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Anyone who missed it this year can view the impressively large crowd all throughout this video:

    The unimpressive flip-switching countdown starts around the 10:20 mark.

Viewing 11 posts - 16 through 26 (of 26 total)

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