WT Festival of Lights returns on Dec. 2

By Chip Chandler

A beloved 30-year holiday tradition will return in an expanded format Dec. 2 as West Texas A&M University’s Christmas lights officially are illuminated for the season.

Festival of Lights will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughn Pedestrian Mall, north of Old Main and near the Hayward Spirit Tower.

This year’s festival will be a winter carnival packed with family-friendly activities and holiday music by the WT Chamber Singers.

It’s part of a busy weekend of holiday activities in Canyon. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum’s Christmas Open House will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4, and Canyon Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas in Canyon events will kick off at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 4, concluding with the Parade of Lights at 6:30 p.m. around the downtown square.

Plus, the WT Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday concert, “Music of the Christmas Season,” will be held at 4 and 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required .

“Festival of Lights, especially with our new carnival, reminds all of us of the beauty right here on our very own campus,” said Grayson Burch, vice president of external affairs for the WT Residence Hall Association, which hosts the event.

Photo:SSC employees Lacey Beals, in tree, Dallas Kern and Scott Riley begin hanging Christmas lights in a tree west of Old Main.

The highlight of the festivities is the official lighting of the campus. More than 82,000 lights will twinkle all around the Canyon campus.

Festival of Lights also will include a hot chocolate bar, gingerbread cookie decorating and games including snowman lawn bowling, an artificial snowball fight and a reindeer ring toss. The WT Alumni Association will offer Christmas card decorating. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum will hand out candy canes, and the WT Hispanic Student Association will collect for its One Toy One Dream toy drive for underprivileged children. Bucky, WT’s official mascot, will be dressed for the holidays at a photo booth, as well.

The lighting ceremony will include remarks from WT President Walter V. Wendler; Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders; Bryan Garcia, Student Government Association president and junior health sciences major from Childress; and Burch, a senior animal science major from Clarendon.

Festival of Lights began in 1990 and, other than 2020, has held annually as the Residence Hall Association’s longest-running tradition.

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