The glow of multicolored Christmas lights filled an Odessa park Thursday while holiday lovers of all ages gathered at McKinney Park to witness the 21st Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Starbright Village.
“It’s a wonderful sight, absolutely beautiful,” Parks and Recreation director Steve Patton said.
The event began with the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree in McKinney Park and continued with the opening of the Starbright Village. After the Starbright Village opening visitors took tours in cars and on foot to see the many elaborate and brightly light Christmas decorations.
“We have over a million lights,” Patton said.
Unlike previous years, they are using LED lights. “We will be consuming one fourth of the energy we were consuming before,” Patton said.
And, after heavy winds toppled the Community Christmas Tree last year, Patton said the Department also made changes to the tree.
“This one has twice the amount of structural steel,” Patton said.
The changes did not impact Odessa residents’ enjoyment of the event.
“It’s pretty neat,” first time participant Josh Snapp said. Meanwhile, Snapp’s 5-year-old son Trinity, excited by the lights and the prospect of Santa Claus, said, “Are we going to get our Christmas presents?”
Families watched as the Odessa High School choir sang a selection of Christmas carols and Mayor Larry Melton and his wife lit the Christmas tree.
While Santa didn’t bring Christmas presents, he did bring snow. Fake snow, provided by Parks and Recreation, drifted down onto the crowd.