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Riga prepares to shine again

On the night of Friday 14 November the streets of Riga will be once again be a blaze of color as the city embarks on its annual 'Staro Riga' (Riga shines) festival, LSM reports.

Since its inception the festival of light (and if you're lucky some sound too) has become a firm favorite with the local population as well as tourists, drawing tens of thousands into the streets.

This year, organizers claim the "Staro Riga 2014" program will offer a particularly dazzling display to mark the drawing to a close of the city's stint as a European Capital of Culture.

Earlier in the year organisers claimed this year's event "will change from being an event featuring light and video objects and installations, which it has been in previous years, to a platform for national and international multimedia light and technological art projects."

Hopefully that is just a highbrow way of saying it's still lots of pretty lights people will enjoy looking at.

The festival of Lights will take place over five evenings from 14 to 18 November, with buildings, installations and some sites that defy easy description shining bright between the hours of 18:00 and 23:00.

"The festival has become the largest festival of light, not only in the Baltic States, but also in Scandinavia, and with Riga the European Capital of Culture, the event has gained particularly wide range of international coverage," Riga mayor Nils Ushakovs said at a launch event Tuesday.

"This year's festival has taken not just a step forward but a giant leap, becoming a major international player," festival organizer Marcis Gulbis said. The festival program includes works by artists from Latvia, Lithuania, Great Britain, France, Canada, Portugal and other countries.

The official festival program includes 22 objects along a special route leading through the Old Town and the city center. Maps will be widely available both from booths on the ground and online at www.staroriga.lv (including information in English).

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