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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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