Having seen a record 268,000 visitors last year, Odessa’s famously extravagant Starbright Village Christmas light show will open Friday and run through Jan. 2 with a big new animated fireworks display.

Mayor Javier Joven will light the village at 6:30 p.m. Thursday after performances by local choirs and dance groups and an appearance by Santa Claus in McKinney Park at 625 N. Pool Rd., adjacent to Interstate 20. The Chuck Wagon Gang will serve free hot chocolate and food trucks will offer meals.

City Parks and Recreation Director Steve Patton said the animated fireworks display will be 40 feet wide and 50 feet tall and situated in the middle of Starbright Village, which will sport a total of over 300,000 lights. “It’s an incredible display,” Patton said, adding that only walk-throughs will be allowed on the first night.

“The hours will be basically from 7 to 11 p.m., but we’ll turn the lights on earlier if it gets dark and we will keep them on after 11 if there is a super crowd,” he said. “We won’t turn them off in the middle of a crowd.”

Along with people from throughout the Permian Basin, he said, numerous visitors come off I-20 to drive or walk through the village and see the 80-plus lighted displays as Christmas music plays. “I have talked to people from Alaska and Canada,” he said.

“They come from all over. The 268,000 was just those who drove through.”

Patton said Starbright Village evolved from a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree that went up for the first time in a community tree lighting ceremony 34 years ago at City Hall.

The idea caught on and the first village was created in McKinney Park in the early 1990s. It’s the biggest light show between Dallas and El Paso. Admission is free.