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Riverside Kicks Off Annual Holiday Tradition With Turning On The Lights At Mission Inn

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA)  --  For 25 years, the city of Riverside has started their holiday season by turning on the dazzling light display at the Mission Inn.

This year, as KCAL9's Tina Patel reports, even more dazzle.  More lights than ever -- five million to be exact.

The event is no longer a small community things .Big name artists like Kenny Loggins are showing up as are people from around Southern California.

The lights are everywhere -- the hotel, the grounds.

"It was beautiful, breathtaking, the kids loved it.  Really hard for parking, but it was worth every second," said Stephanie Gamboa of San Jacinto.

"It's a lot bigger,  I was telling my family that as well. It's very much bigger, it's  a lot more people coming from different areas, different cities as well," said Seferino Lopez of Riverside.

The crowds have also gotten bigger over the years.  And not just on the first night when there's also a fireworks show and concert.

It's estimated that half a million people will come to see the festival or lights between now and the first week of January.

The Inn has been working with the city to make sure the festival remains safe. They've added more barriers around the property and an increased police presence.

"We've got a lot of undercover and a lot of security, we've had bomb sniffing dogs out in the area, it's a very safe environment," said Shannon Walters of the Mission Inn.

"I know sometimes it can be a little dangerous when there's a lot of people around. but for the most part, it doesn't look like anyone has any harmful intentions or anything like that," said festival goer Mani Dominquez of Perris.

Patel spoke to many people who came to the festival as children who are now bringing their own children to the event.

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