The Big, Bright Light Show celebrates 10th anniversary

Light show to debut during Lagniappe Nov. 23

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 17, 2015

 The Big, Bright Light Show runs nightly in downtown Rochester 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 3.

The Big, Bright Light Show runs nightly in downtown Rochester 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 3.

File photo by Donna Agusti


ROCHESTER — With its 1.5 million points of holiday light, The Big, Bright Light Show may look like something that can only be found in a dream. But this year, it’s also turning dreams into reality for Michigan children with life-threatening illnesses.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Big, Bright Light Show, downtown Rochester has partnered with The Rainbow Connection, a nonprofit organization that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses across the state.

“We’ve always said that The Big, Bright Light Show is more than lights and that it means more than that, and this year we are going to prove it,” said Rochester Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow.

When patrons visit The Big, Bright Light Show, they are encouraged to text “WISHES” to 80077* and make a $10 donation to help make a child’s wish come true. The wishes campaign will kick off Nov. 23 and will continue through the holiday season.

Mary Grace McCarter, executive director of The Rainbow Connection, said the fact that downtown Rochester chose to benefit The Rainbow Connection in celebration of the light show’s birthday was “a tremendous compliment.”

“People come from all over everywhere to see The Big, Bright Light Show, and they are all going to learn about us. That is not to be undervalued. It’s not just about the text to give; it’s about learning about what we do, because it may not be today — it could be tomorrow, it could be a year from now — where somebody, having learned about us, is in a position to help us in some way, or we may be in position to help them in some way. It was like the ultimate compliment, frankly,” McCarter said.

The 10th annual Big, Bright Light Show will make its debut at 7 p.m. Nov. 23 during the 43rd annual Lagniappe festival. Lagniappe, which comes from the Creole word meaning “a little something extra,” was developed as a way for downtown merchants to celebrate the holiday season by giving back to their customers in the form of discounts, giveaways and other special offers 6-9 p.m.

At 6:45 p.m. on East Fourth Street, The Big, Bright Light Show program will begin with help from Mayor Jeffrey Cuthbertson, Channel 7’s Dave LewAllen and a special appearance by Santa Claus himself, sponsored by Somerset Lending. The light switch will be flipped at 7 p.m., transforming downtown Rochester into a glimmering spectacular for the holidays.

“The Big, Bright Light Show has become a holiday tradition in metro Detroit. It’s one of those things that people remember and they bring their families to see, and they are making memories there. Some people have gotten engaged in front of the show, they’ve gotten holiday Christmas card pictures in front of the show — there is just nothing quite like it,” Trevarrow said.

Following the lighting, kids will have an opportunity to share their Christmas lists with Santa 7:15-9 p.m. There will be a number of free holiday music performances to help visitors get into the holiday spirit, as well as free horse-drawn carriage rides 6-9 p.m. at East Third and Walnut streets.  

“It’s a great night just to walk around and enjoy the shops and enjoy the lights and the whole atmosphere,” Trevarrow added.

The Big, Bright Light Show will continue to run 5 p.m.-midnight nightly through Jan. 3. For more information, call (248) 656-0060 or visit