The Merritt Transit System’s annual Christmas Light Tour is back this year, rolling through town after a two year hiatus. While pandemic restrictions and flooding have forced the cancellation of a number of community events in recent years, this year the bus will once again tour Merrittonians through the Valley’s own winter wonderland.
Those who snap up a seat on one of the tours happening across three days and multiple festively decorated neighbourhoods will be bussed throughout Merritt, taking in the holiday decorations as they light up the night sky. The tours will be roughly 1.5 to 2 hours in length, leaving at 6PM from the parking lot of Merritt City Hall on December 16, 17, and 19. Transit employees told the Herald that response for tickets so far has been higher than expected.
“We actually just started, and it’s been going very well,” said Lori Willson, supervisor for the Merritt Transit System.
“People are phoning in and they’re stopping by to pick up their tickets. It’s $5 a seat on the bus, and the money gets donated to the Nicola Valley & District Food Bank.”
With the promise of Christmas cheer, along with the support to the food bank, seats are sure to fill up fast. Those interested in attending are urged to pick up their tickets soon. The tour will go through a number of neighbourhoods, following a route that will be determined in advance by the number of Christmas lights present. Merrittonians are encouraged to hang their lights and have them on in time for the tour.
In addition to the three public tours, the Merritt Transit System will host a private tour for residents of long term care facilities on Sunday, December 18. The event is sure to be welcomed warmly by the community, after years of events facing cancellations and being postponed.
“This is the first time back after two years of not having it at all,” explained Willson.
“I think everybody likes to get out and see the lights, and they’re doing it for a good cause. This is the time of the year that they [food bank] need the help. When I grew up, it was a big deal to go for a Sunday drive and see the lights.”
Tickets must be paid for by noon the day of the tour. Children ages 5 and under ride for free on a parent or guardian’s lap. For more information on the Merritt Transit System, which is operated by BC Transit and the City of Merritt, visit www.facebook.com/merrittbus.
The Merritt Transit Office is located in City Hall, and can be reached via phone at 250-378-4080.