WHITE POINT - If you have never heard of a team of Jackalopes pulling Santa’s sleigh, then you need to head to White Point Beach Resort to see for yourself.
When Kendall Karlson, member of White Point’s engineering team - also known as the resident MacGyver who can build anything - happened to mention he had made an antlered jackrabbit, known as a jackalope, the foundation was set for the annual Festival of Lights at the resort.
The idea for creating a festival of lights actually came from Sherbrooke Village, says Donna Hatt, White Point's marketing manager. After seeing a presentation about their light festival at a Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) gala night and learning how the community came together to put people outside at night in the winter, Hatt says White Point knew it needed to try something, too.
After discovering Karlson’s jackalope, the team requested he build two more, plus a wooden sleigh. Karlson obliged and, two years ago, strung lights around it, creating the first display which has now become a part of the annual decorating tradition.
This year’s them for the Festival of the Lights celebrates Canada 150, with thousands of red and white lights strung around the property. Hatt says the fence of the tennis court becomes a giant Light Brite, making the perfect backdrop for a light display. This year, a beaver on a dime, along with some Christmas trees, is on display.
This year’s display also includes two giant snow globes built by Karlson. One is a miniature replica of one of the cottages and the other is of the resort’s most famous guests: a rabbit.
The Canada 150 décor continues inside with the tree in the Founders’ Hall main lobby decorated with a wide variety of Canadian paraphernalia, including snowshoe, ski and Adirondack chair ornaments. Inside the dining room, the tree is full of gingerbread cookies in the shape of animals like beavers, fish and moose.
Hatt says the idea behind the Festival of Lights is to get people out at night.
“We tend to hide at night and become reclusive. This helps motivate people to get outside,” she says.
The resort is noticing a difference, with people going for walks and staying outside longer after their meal. Hatt says guests are also returning each year to have their family photos taken with the light displays.
The Festival of Lights will remain up until after New Year’s and is open for viewing by any overnight or day guests.
“We just keep growing our Festival of Lights,” says Hatt, who adds that plans are already in the works for next year’s 90th anniversary of the resort. The lighting possibilities are endless!