‘Light a Light of Love’ event comes to Huntington Beach on Sunday

The snowflakes are lit on Huntington Beach Pier in 2019.
(Spencer Grant)

It is one of the most memorable events of the holiday season in Huntington Beach, and it’s all for a good cause.

The 25th anniversary of the Waymakers “Light a Light of Love” event returns to Huntington Beach Pier Plaza on Sunday, benefitting the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter.

The free event includes a craft booth that opens at 3:30 p.m., a children’s parade at 4 p.m. and a Surf City Santa meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. But it all culminates when, exactly at 6 p.m., more than 80 6-foot-tall snowflakes will be lit along the pier and Main Street.

Snowflakes are still available for sponsorship in both locations, said Nancy Galeana, program director of the Waymakers Huntington Beach Youth Shelter. Each features a plaque below it that can feature a saying or company logo. The snowflakes will stay up until Jan. 5, Galeana said, and snowflakes can still be bought after Sunday’s event.

She said the goal is to raise more than $110,000 for the youth shelter. There will also be merchandise including handheld snowflake wands, head warmers and hair clips available for purchase at the event, and this year there is the added bonus of the outdoor ice skating rink right there as well.

“It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” Galeana said. “It covers eight of our beds over at the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, which are the community beds. These are kids who are homeless, runaways and at risk of pretty much any other behavior, like family conflict, having difficulties at school. More than anything, with everything that has been going on with the pandemic, it definitely leaves a door open for youth who are in need to come in and have a supportive space.”

The 25th annual display features 57 trees, ranging in size from 10 feet tall to 55 feet tall, constructed out of metal tubing and cable.

Waymakers did not hold the event in person last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Everything will go completely dark at the pier just before 6 p.m. Sunday. There will be a countdown before the giant snowflakes illuminate the area.

“We try to build up the momentum of the countdown,” Galeana said. “It’s so magical to see everything go on and the snowflakes light up. For me, I feel like we always talk about lighting up the path of change for many of our youth who come and stay at the shelter, and this represents that.”

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said that residents have told her that the Light a Light of Love event is one of their favorites of the holiday season.

“It is very local, very hometown,” Carr said. “The children’s parade is a hit every year. I get to be in the children’s parade this year, because I’m a child at heart, I guess.

“It’s just a really great way from everyone to come together and celebrate the holidays in a safe, outdoor environment. They light the snowflakes, and it’s pretty dramatic.”

For more information about the event or sponsoring a snowflake, visit the Waymakers website or call (714) 842-6600.

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