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Ford Idaho Center to host paint night as part of Bright Lights Festival Friday

The Ford Idaho Center is hosting Paint Night with The Angry Easel as part of its Bright Lights Festival from 7–9 p.m. Friday.

The painting setup will be located at the Sports Center floor. A special Paint Night ticket is required to attend. Admission includes all of the materials needed to paint your own holiday-themed work of art, guided by The Angry Easel. Your ticket also includes a drink or appetizer. Attendees are also welcome to paint whatever inspires them.

“Your safety at any of our events is our top priority,” the Ford Idaho Center stated in the event announcement. “This event is being held following the guidelines set in place by the state and health district.”

PPE will be available for free to all attendees, the announcement also stated, as well as hand sanitizer stations throughout the event space. This event will take place mostly outdoors to eliminate common touch points that could be contaminated. Staff will clean common areas (tables, doors, etc.) frequently.

Christmas Lights and special events around the Treasure Valley

Christmas in Color at Expo Idaho

Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights synchronized to holiday music heard through your radio. Giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more are featured in the west parking lot of Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., until Jan. 3. Tickets are $30 per vehicle for 5:30-9:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets: Presented by GoGo Squeeze, KTVB Channel 7 News, 102.7 FM, Pioneer Federal Credit Union and TDS.

Idaho Bright Lights Festival

Visit the Ford Idaho Center for a “twist on a classic winter market and beautiful holiday light display.” This debut event features nightly activities every weekend through Jan. 1:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Shopping local Treasure Valley vendors
  • Lights display by Silver Bells Decorative Lighting Solutions
  • Seasonal drinks and bites
  • Designated children’s area with activities, including a letter box to Santa
  • Digital entertainment and hot holiday drinks by the fire pit

Additionally, every weekend has unique live music performances by Treasure Valley artists performed in the Main Stage covered area. View the schedule at The event is presented by Idaho Central Credit Union. Tickets are required and available at

Winter Wonderland in downtown Caldwell

Experience the winter season every evening with ice skating, favorite treats and holiday shopping in downtown Caldwell. Winter Wonderland Creek Lights are on display at dusk through Jan. 10. Presented by Destination Caldwell and other partners. More information:

Winter Garden aGlow is open

Idaho Botanical Garden has transformed into a twinkling wonderland, and community members are invited to “peek into the Garden Cottage to see what Santa and Mrs. Claus are up to.” Snacks and warm drinks from local vendors are available. “Check out the holiday express model train display, wander through the coolest tunnel of lights in Boise, and see what wondrous creation Illumicone has in store for you this year.”

To promote safety and social-distancing, this event will use timed ticketing. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are available at

Letters and visits to Santa around the Treasure Valley

Santa’s Mailbox (downtown Meridian)

Children are encouraged to drop a letter to Santa into Santa’s Mailbox through Dec. 17 outside Meridian City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave. Letters with a legible return address will receive a response in the mail from Santa before Christmas.

Santa’s Mailbox (The Village at Meridian)

Next to Santa’s house in Fountain Square, children will find a magical mailbox to place their letters and wish lists to Santa. More information is available through the Village at Meridian’s concierge desk. Visit the Village at Meridian at 3597 E. Monarch Sky Lane #225 and

Santa’s Mailbox (The Ford Idaho Center)

Children are invited to write and drop off their letters to Santa at the Ford Idaho Center as part of its Idaho Bright Lights Festival 5-9 p.m. now through Jan. 3. Tickets are available through Visit the Ford Idaho Center at 16200 N. Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa and

No-Contact Santa Visits at The Village at Meridian

There will be two chairs separated by a console farmers table with plexiglass in the middle in order to protect guests and Santa while still creating a beautiful photo in Santa’s House. Guests are asked to sign up through

For guests who are not quite ready for an in-person visit with Santa, The Village at Meridian is offering virtual Santa visits now through Christmas Eve. Santa will virtually meet with children via Zoom. Parents or guardians can go online to register their child for a 3-4 minute private virtual meeting with Santa. Advanced reservations are required.

Annual Empty Bowls fundraiser continues through Dec. 11

Idaho Foodbank’s annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is still available online for community members to help Idahoans facing food insecurity.

Your purchase of an empty bowl includes: a uniquely crafted bowl, an Albertsons reusable shopping bag, $5 Albertsons gift card and a coupon to a local restaurant for soup. Those interested can donate that Albertsons gift card to The Idaho Foodbank to help provide more meals to those in need in the community, the nonprofit stated in a press release. Bowls will be available for pickup only at the Idaho Foodbank’s Meridian warehouse, 133 W. Broadway Ave. More information about the event is at

It is estimated that 1 in 9 individuals and 1 in 8 children were food insecure in Idaho prior to the pandemic, according to the press release. Recent projections that consider the impact of COVID-19 change that ratio to 1 in 7 Idahoans and 1 in 5 children.

With every $1 The Idaho Foodbank can provide enough food for up to five meals.

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