LETHBRIDGE — This holiday season, Lethbridge will get its holiday cheer from Heart of the Holidays instead of the Bright Lights Festival.

The new festival is a team-up between the City of Lethbridge, the Downtown BRZ, Lethbridge Sports Council and the Heart of our City Committee.

Heart of the Holidays will be spread out over several weeks, something Downtown BRZ executive director Ted Stilson says is a good thing.

“Last year, if you recall, we had a storm come through in the morning and those sorts of things can wipe out a festival like the Bright Lights Festival,” he said.

The BRZ is also hoping the longer format will bring more holiday shoppers into the core.

“It's really important, especially during the holiday season, to realize that they need everyone to participate in holiday shopping at their stores more than ever,” said Tasha Hogg, marketing coordinator for the Downtown BRZ.

Starting Nov. 15, a 1000-sq.-ft skating rink made of synthetic ice will take over Festival Square, something Andrew Malcolm, the city’s urban revitalization manager, says was previously impossible.

“Unfortunately given our chinooks, it's always been a logistical issue. With this partnership with Lethbridge Sports Council, we're offered the opportunity to try it out with artificial ice,” he said.

Heart of the Holidays will also introduce a holiday market on Nov. 23 and plaid days on Dec. 6 and 7.

Plaid days will have favourite events from the Bright Lights Festival like horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit from Santa.

More information on the events can be found online.