RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Mission Inn in Riverside for the annual Festival of Lights event.
Heightened security was put into place at the event to ensure that all of the onlookers felt safe.
The light show began at around 5:30 p.m. PT.
Riverside Police told CBS2’s Greg Mills that they have more officers assigned to the festival than they ever have had before.
Workers were busy setting up the festival since early Friday morning, including thousands of lights and a complete fireworks display.
“Incredible. There’s nothing that can compare,” Gail Namerow said.
Gail and Richard Namerow attended last year’s festival of lights, joining the record crowd of more than 60,000 people.
For the Namerow’s, attending the festival has even become a family tradition.
“It is. I even flew out my parents in from Hawaii, so they’re here this year,” Namerow added.
Like many others, the Namerow’s enjoy the show and also stay at the Mission Inn.
This year, at least 70,000 people were expected to attend the festival.
“We sell out every single year on opening night,” Mission Inn Sales and Marketing Director Shannon Walters said.
“We have a lot of security in place and we close off a lot of areas,” Walters added.
The Mission Inn would not disclose any security information, other than that it will be a joint effort from the Mission Inn and the Riverside Police Department.