The streets of downtown Rochester were bustling during a past Lagniappe and the kickoff of the Big, Bright Light Show.

The streets of downtown Rochester were bustling during a past Lagniappe and the kickoff of the Big, Bright Light Show.

Photo provided by the Rochester DDA

Lagniappe, light show to make spirits bright

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 15, 2022


ROCHESTER — For the past month or so, crews have been hard at work installing thousands of strands of lights to prepare downtown Rochester for the annual debut of its Big, Bright Light Show.

This year’s holiday light show kicks off during Lagniappe on Monday, Nov. 21.

Lagniappe, which comes from the Creole word meaning “a little something extra,” was developed as a way for the merchants to celebrate the holiday season by giving back to their customers in the form of discounts, giveaways and other special offers.

“We are celebrating our 49th year of Lagniappe,” said Jenna O’Dell, the events coordinator for downtown Rochester.

Held 6-9 p.m. this year, Lagniappe is an opportunity for downtown merchants to show their appreciation to the community, said Brad Saarela, the owner of Somerset Lending Corp., Andrews Realty Group and University Title.

“We know that we owe a good deal of our growth and success over the years to our local borrowers, and every year we look forward to sponsoring Santa Claus so that we are able to contribute to this celebration, not only of lights and the Christmas spirit, but a celebration of Rochester and our rich history,” Saarela said in a statement.

Guests can enjoy special coupons, snacks and other free goodies from downtown merchants, along with musical entertainment starting at 6 p.m. The program for the Big, Bright Light Show will begin at 6:45 p.m. on East Fourth Street with help from Mayor Stuart Bikson, Channel 7’s Dave LewAllen and a special appearance by Santa Claus himself.

At 7 p.m, the light switch on the annual display will be flipped, setting the buildings aglow along Main Street. After the kickoff of the Big, Bright Light Show, kids will have the opportunity to share their Christmas lists and take a photo with Santa, Mrs. Claus and some reindeer 7:15-9 p.m. at the corner of East Fourth and Main streets.

O’Dell said the evening is a very special tradition in Rochester.

“Since the light show started 15 or 16 years ago, people have brought their kids every single year,” said O’Dell. “It’s definitely a family tradition to come down and see the lights displayed here in Rochester. It means a lot to a lot of families.”

The Big, Bright Light Show will continue to run 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 21. For more information, call (248) 656-0060 or visit