It's time for festive lights to start brightening up the nights and spirits ahead of the holidays, with lighting ceremonies and parades set to start off December. In Canyon, West Texas A&M University is inviting the community to its annual Festival of Lights, to be held Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughn Pedestrian Mall, north of Old Main and near the Hayward Spirit Tower.
WTAMU's Festival of Lights began in 1990 and is the university's longest-running tradition. This year’s festival, held by WT’s Residence Hall Association, will feature the official lighting of WT’s Christmas lights and a winter carnival. The carnival will host plenty of family-friendly activities, including a hot chocolate bar, outdoor games, a photo booth, cookie and ornament decorating, holiday treats, and holiday music provided by the WT Chamber Singers.
The Festival of Lights was brought together by WT student organizations, including the Hispanic Student Association, Spectrum, Black Student Union, F1RSTGEN, Student Government Association, The Wesley Foundation, Baptist Student Ministry, Alpha Sigma Alpha and the Darlings of West Texas.
Ransom Colette, WTAMU RHA national communications coordinator said in a news release: “Festival of Lights is a reminder of the beauty of getting together with family and friends and spreading holiday cheer.”
The lighting ceremony will include remarks from WT President Walter V. Wendler; Annie Valicek, Student Government Association president; Colette; and Kennedy Fritzler, RHA vice president of internal affairs; before celebrating the official lighting, when the campus with nearly 80,000 Christmas lights is set to twinkle all around the campus.
The university's Festival of Lights also acts as a kick-off ceremony for several other Canyon Christmas celebrations, including the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum’s Christmas Open House, to be held at the museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.
The open house event will include a day full of holiday crafts, the crowd favorite Christmas cookie making, a chance to visit Santa, and Christmas carols provided by area choirs. During the event, attendees can also tour the museum to see their featured exhibits, including "Quinceanera Traditions," "Fairytales" and the traveling "Giants, Dragons and Unicorns."
"Bring your family and come see the museum," said Anna Parsons, PPHM Marketing Specialist. "We have a lot of things in our facility and really are a part of greater learning, and we welcome everyone that comes through our doors. This is the perfect opportunity to help someone with a donation and have some holiday fun and learn more about our local history."
Admission is free, but PPHM does ask that each attendee make a donation of a canned good to benefit the High Plains Food Bank.
Also being held Saturday, the Canyon Chamber of Commerce will host its Christmas in Canyon events beginning at 4 p.m. and concluding with the Parade of Lights, to be held at 6:30 p.m. around the Canyon downtown square.
On Sunday, Dec. 4, the WT Symphony Orchestra will host its annual holiday concert, “Music of the Christmas Season,” at 4 and 7 p.m. in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: WTAMU spreads Christmas cheer in Canyon with annual Festival of Lights