Crowds fill the sidewalks in downtown Rochester during  a past Lagniappe event.

Crowds fill the sidewalks in downtown Rochester during a past Lagniappe event.

Photo provided by the Rochester DDA

Lagniappe celebrates 50th anniversary in downtown Rochester

Big, Bright Light show kicks off Nov. 20 to help brighten the holiday season

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 8, 2023


ROCHESTER — It isn’t the holidays in Rochester until Main Street shines with a light display that puts Clark Griswold’s house from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” to shame.

This year, downtown Rochester will officially transform into a glimmering spectacle when the Big, Bright Light Show switch is flipped Monday, Nov. 20, during the 50th annual Lagniappe event.

This year’s Lagniappe will be held 6-9 p.m. Nov. 20 in downtown Rochester.

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.

“Even though there are masses of people who attend, some merchants still stick to that sentiment and give out a little something extra to the customers during the event,” said Jenna O’Dell, the events coordinator for downtown Rochester. “It’s a great opportunity for our businesses to start the holiday season with shoppers and enjoy the Big, Bright Light Show.”

To celebrate Lagniappe’s 50th anniversary — in addition to The Big, Bright Light Show — there will be “a little something extra” big and bright brought to guests by Soave Enterprises, Frank Rewold & Sons, and Forest Ridge Apartments.

“Lagniappe is going to be a pretty special event this year, and there may even be something new that’s a little bigger and brighter than usual,” said Kristi Trevarrow, the executive director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority. “It’s a little surprise that we’re keeping,”

At 6 p.m. on East Fourth Street, the Big, Bright Light Show program will begin with help from Rochester Mayor Stuart Bikson, Channel 7 and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

The 18th annual Big, Bright Light Show will be set aglow with 15 colors of LED lights at 7 p.m. Following the lighting, kids will have an opportunity to share their Christmas lists with Santa 7:15-9 p.m. near Fourth and Main streets, sponsored by Viviano Flower Shop.

The lights are a huge attraction, according to Trevarrow.

“Especially coming into our 18th year of Big, Bright, it’s less of an event and more of a tradition. It’s always part of the holiday conversation. ‘When are we going to see the lights?’” Trevarrow said. “Everybody always wants to come see the lights because your holidays wouldn’t be complete without that trip, and we appreciate that people have made us a part of their holidays. That is amazing to us. We have always said we are in the memory-making business, and I think that the Big, Bright Light Show is at the pinnacle of that.”

The Big, Bright Light Show, the largest event hosted by downtown Rochester, will continue to run 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 21.

“The lights are a great excuse to come out with your family, grab a hot cocoa, do a little holiday shopping, and just get your Christmas spirit on,” said Trevarrow.

For more information, call (248) 656-0060 or visit