Southwick Zoo opens 2022 Festival of Illumination


Southwick Zoo opens 2022 Festival of Illumination
The Festival of Illumination was officially opened this month. (Photo/Caroline Gordon)

MENDON – Attendees of Southwick Zoo flooded into Galliford’s Restaurant and Tavern in celebration of this year’s Festival of Illumination, which is titled “Once Upon a Time,” on Sept. 1. 

This year, the zoo has partnered yet again with the award-winning Zigong Lantern Group to display a Chinese Lantern Festival. 

Once Upon a Time is an event featuring a lantern festival, live entertainment by Chinese Acrobats, Asian Night Market, interactive exhibits, and specialty foods. 

“It’s an honor to see this wonderful crowd of people,” former President of Southwick Zoo Justine Brewer said. “Throughout the years, we have grown and this [the Festival of Illumination] is a whole new adventure. This adventure is truly spectacular.” 

She added, “I want to thank my family who are doing everything. And, our wonderful staff.” 

Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) was in attendance with his family. 

“We’ve been supporters of what the Brewer family is trying to accomplish from both an economic standpoint and a tourist standpoint,” he said. “The Brewer family is amazing. They are people who care about the community and they have changed many lives. Tonight is an example of that.”

He added, “My children absolutely love the zoo. It’s like going to a different world for them.” 

Stay tuned for a holiday display of lights. Starting on Nov. 26th, guests can enjoy the traditional Winter Wonderland holiday lights as well as holiday themed Chinese Lanterns.

Once Upon a Time is held Wednesday through Sunday nights Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Southwick Zoo is located at 2 Southwick St., Mendon.