Waukesha kicks off holiday season with annual 'Night of Lights'

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The City of Waukesha kicked off the holiday festivities with its annual Night of Lights on Friday.

After a hard year, community members gathered around to support one another for the beginning of the holiday season.

"It brings our community together, closer, and we can heal together," Suzanne Remfrey said. 

The Night of Lights started with the Christmas Tree lighting outside of the rotunda.

Santa and Mrs. Claus joined carolers in walking with lanterns through Downtown Waukesha to the river where the Walk of Lights was lit for the very first time.

"I think we all need an uplift; we all need as I said a unifying event of cheer, coming together," Remfrey said.

While Waukesha will never forget the tragedy that struck the community one year ago, Mayor Shawn Reilly said events like the Night of Lights will help people find joy again. 

"People are processing this and they will continue to process it, but it is the holidays and people want to celebrate the holidays," Reilly said.

Mayor Reilly said he understands not everyone heals on the same schedule, and the city purposefully designed parts of this event to avoid Main Street. 

"That allows people to participate and not have to you know go to where they may not want to go," Reilly said.

The lights aren't limited to Downtown Waukesha. 

"It's so nice to see everybody with the blue lights," Linda Dempsey said.

The city is encouraging residents and business owners to unify this holiday season by once again shining blue lights from storefronts and porches to show everyone just how Waukesha Strong they are.

The holiday festivities continue all weekend long in Waukesha.

There will be carriage rides and photo opportunities with Santa on Saturday. 

The annual Waukesha Christmas Parade will begin on Sunday at 4 p.m. 

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