Mission Inn Festival of Lights

5 million in one building!

The city of Riverside is famous for primarily two things: the birth of the navel orange and a massive light show that happens every December.

The show is called the “Festival of Lights,” and it’s put on by the historic Mission Inn, which actually has several claims to fame: presidents Roosevelt, Taft, Hoover, Nixon, Reagan and Bush Jr have visited, and they are celebrated in a “Presidential Lounge,” that is the centerpiece of the hotel.

Plus, it’s a historic masterpiece.

Twenty-seven years of a massive light show celebrating Christmas (not Hanukah, sorry Jewish friends) attracts some 500,000 visits yearly, for the month of December, closing on January 6th. Highlights include angels, elves and Dickens carolers, Santa Claus types and more lights than you’ll see in Las Vegas.

For my recent Photowalk of the show, I was joined by a local, Josh McNair, who runs the fabulous California Through My Lens website and YouTube channel. Love your job?

Well consider this: Josh and wife Amy spend much of the month traveling all over the state, driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, hiking the redwoods and desert parks and taking fabulous photos. If you have a question about anywhere in the state, odds are Josh has answered it on the web. He’s a full-time YouTuber, and you’ll get to know him a little better when I post here our fascinating sit-down (on the local museum steps,) as we awaited the lights to turn on across the street at 5 p.m. Stay tuned for that one.

Another Riverside highlight was exploring the rest of the city, from Mt. Rubidoux to the orange groves below, with my longtime pal Scott Heath and my new pal Steve Brazill. Look for that #Photowalk video, part 2 from Riverside, in January.

Tweet of the week

It’s that time of the year. These shots only come out in winter.

Instagram Top 9

It’s also the time when the “Top 9” people compile our most popular Instagram posts. That’s always fun, and a surprise. The superstars this year: Newport Beach jetty, Griffith Observatory, a Manhattan Beach lifeguard stand, the MB Pier, downtown LA flanked by the snow (ahem), more Pier, more MB Strand, another lifeguard stand and Hollywood Walk of Fame in the rain.

What’s your favorite of the nine? Tell me your pick, and I’ll reveal mine in the next newsletter.

That’s a wrap for this week. As always, thanks for reading, watching and listening. If you enjoyed the newsletter, please click HEART to let me know, or better yet, REPLY and send me an e-mail. Tell your friends, share the latest and keep in touch.