MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights Opening Ceremony

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A Texoma Christmas tradition that started with a single light bulb, now brightens up the holiday season at Midwestern State University with 35 displays.
Monday night was the opening ceremony for the MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights, the largest holiday display of its kind.

Doctor Suzanne Shipley, the MSU President, made the introductory remarks before the light switch was flipped at 6 p.m.

Following that there was free hot chocolate, Christmas songs sung by the Ben Franklin Elementary School Choir and a performance from the MSU fantasy of Lights University Wind Ensemble.

Those who helped put on the event said about 300 people were expected to come out for the lighting.

Many of those who did all agreed, this is the best way to kick off holidays.

The Sheffield family came with about ten people in their group, and they said this is a fun family tradition they come to every year.

It was the first time for some of the kids in their pack, and they were in awe at the sight of all the lights.

To bring these displays to life Dirk Welch, MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights Coordinator, said to it takes a year of preparations.

"It really amps up in October. We have a work day where there's a lot of painting, refurbishment, cleaning going on," said Welch.

Welch has been a part of this event for the past 13 years and said over 100 volunteers help make this tradition possible.

Welch said they do everything from reconstruction on the displays, cleaning, setting up, tearing down and more.

He said all the hard work is worth it, because this display of lights means a lot to the entire community, including him.

"It just really warms me inside. I reconnect with the holiday spirit, and some of my memories that I had as a child. It's just such a wonderful time," said Welch.

Ten-year-old, Kaylie Steinveck, said what better way to spend that time, then with the ones you love.

"We're not together all the time, so this is a good time to come with our family," said Steinveck.

Many who attended the opening ceremony agreed, but one thing many cannot agree on is their favorite display.

From the Bubble Robot to the Toy Story Display, everybody has their favorites.

Welch said some of those displays, like the Wizard of Oz received some touch-ups this year, and they were all made possible thanks to donations.

Welch said many families and businesses have adopted some of the displays, and it is the community that helps keep this tradition alive.

The event is completely free for all to attend.

The displays will be lit every night from dusk until 10 p.m. at night Sunday through Thursday, and from dusk until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The final day to view the displays will be Christmas night Sunday, December 25th.

While The MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights is free they do take donations to help keep the now traditional display funded for the next year. If you would like to make a personal donation, simply click HERE!

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