Brady Wilson, of Rochester, shops at Plain and Fancy during last year’s Lagniappe.

Brady Wilson, of Rochester, shops at Plain and Fancy during last year’s Lagniappe.

File photo by Donna Agusti

Rochester to celebrate Lagniappe, debut of Big, Bright Light Show

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 20, 2019


ROCHESTER — Those who are already in the holiday spirit have another reason to be merry.

Downtown Rochester has transformed into a sparkling holiday spectacular, with 1.5 million points of glimmering light.

The fun began Nov. 25, when the community was invited to shop local merchants and enjoy some free perks during Lagniappe, then stay for the kickoff of the Big, Bright Light Show.

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

Rochester Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow said a former downtown business owner brought Lagniappe to downtown Rochester in the 1970s.

DDA Events Coordinator Jenna O’Dell said Lagniappe is one of her favorite nights of the year.

“We have a lot of businesses that will be open, and they already have their holiday supplies in, so it’s a good way to start your Christmas shopping and a good time to get yourself in the holiday spirit and ready for Christmas,” she said.

The light switch on the 14th annual Big, Bright Light Show display was flipped, setting the buildings aglow along Main Street, beginning at the South Bridge and extending to University Drive. The buildings on Fourth Street, from Walnut Boulevard to Water Street, are also covered in lights.

During the first year of the Big, Bright Light Show, Trevarrow said, building owners and tenants were given the option of picking their own light colors. Today, the show features 13 different colors of LED lights — including two new colors that were added this year.

“A couple of years ago when we switched our provider for the lights, they let us know that we could start doing custom strands, so we experimented with it last year — with the candy cane, which is red and white. That was really well received, so we added a few more,” Trevarrow said. “We have two new color combinations, so we are kind of mixing up our colors a bit. We have a pink-and-‘ice’ — which is white — and a teal-and-ice. The teal is kind of like an Elsa blue.”

Another new feature has been added this year, Santa’s Phone Booth, which will be located at the northwest corner of Third and Main streets. Trevarrow said visitors can pop in to the bright red London-style phone booth, hear a message from the big guy himself and take a selfie.

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

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