Qualicum Beach’s Moonlight Madness

Christmas lights at village square, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The festivities kick off at the beautifully-decorated village square

There’s nothing better than sparkling lights, special treats, beautiful displays and Christmas music to put one in the mood for the yuletide season. The Qualicum Beach merchants do a bang-up job of kicking off the festive season with their annual Moonlight Madness event, this year scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16.

Santa Claus at Moonlight Madness, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Santa Claus, of course, is an integral part of the evening

We usually venture out after dark to take in the event and, rain or clear skies, there are always hundreds of people out enjoying Moonlight Madness along with us. Things get under way at 5:30 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Virtually all of the local merchants stay open late (an unusual occurrence in Qualicum Beach, where they usually roll up the sidewalks at 6), offering everything from great deals to free popcorn, hot chocolate or mulled cider.

Decorated fire engine at Moonlight Magic, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The volunteer fire department even gets in to the spirit

This year marks the 23rd event for Moonlight Madness, and every time we go there is more to enjoy throughout the evening. It is organized by the Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association and has become a favourite community fixture over the past couple of decades.

Moonlight Magic at Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Strolling the streets….

The 2017 version of Moonlight Madness kicks off around 5:30 p.m at Glassford Square, more commonly referred to as the village square or town square. Centred by a fountain, the square abuts the town hall with its’ tall clock tower, so it’s not difficult to find.

There will be entertainment at the square, along with a magical light display. The RCMP will be in attendance waiting to welcome Santa Claus, who will then be escorted to the twinkling Santa’s Village, located up Second Avenue at the quaint Chilham Village retail complex.

Light display at Moonlight Madness, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

There are beautiful light displays all over the village

Musicians and singers will be scattered throughout the central shopping area of town, and many businesses offer special deals. Most of the restaurants are open for those who might feel the need of a sit-down and a warm drink or more substantial sustenance.

christmas window display at Moonlight Madness, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Festive window displays abound

All-told, Moonlight Madness is a fun evening for folks of all ages. Wandering the festively-lit streets, listening to the town clock tower playing Christmas carols and enjoying the beautiful yuletide window displays and merchandise makes for an inspiring evening in this quintessential small town.

The best spot to begin your Moonlight Madness adventure is around Second Avenue and Memorial, wandering up along Second to take in all the activity and fun.

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 49.347121 Long. -124.441695

N 49 20.827 W 124 26.502

Shirley

About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers. In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.
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