It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The season of cold weather, warm sweaters, and spending time together. Celebrations abound with delicious food, homemade eggnog, and hot cocoa. But it wouldn’t be Christmas without the lights. Big, beautiful trees and houses are decorated and lit with pride. Downtown Bryan looks to be the shining example on November 16 through the free, twelve-year-old tradition, Lights On.
“Lights On is the kick off to the holiday season in Downtown Bryan,” says Katelyn Brown, event coordinator for the Downtown Bryan Association (DBA). This event attracts thousands of people to gather in Sale Park and celebrate the countdown until Downtown Bryan is lit up. Everyone meets at the park at 6:00 p.m. Thirty minutes later, the countdown begins and everyone walks to the Palace Theater.
Two Bryan ISD groups will be performing in the theater, the SFA Middle School Choir and the Kemp Carver Notables. The Texas A&M Century Singers will be performing as well. Other activities include a free holiday movie in the Queen Theatre, arts and crafts provided by the Purple Turtle Art Studio, a bounce house, and pictures with Santa. There will be tons of free cookies and multiple food trucks.
Brown also emphasizes that the tradition has seen a lot of growth over its twelve years. “This started as a free event to bring people here for the holiday season,” says Brown. “It was originally very small.” Last year, Light On brought in over 3000 people. Brown expects that number to rise to 3500 this year. This has encouraged the stores to join in on the festivities.
“Downtown Bryan is the living room of our community, and is pretty much 100 percent full of mom and pop businesses,” says Brown. These stores and restaurants thrive off of events such as Lights On, Brown explains. Most of them will extend their hours, have special guests, and have their holiday season inventory out for all to see. The main reasons for the existence of Lights On, says Brown, is to keep Downtown Bryan “vibrant and thriving,” to help support the local businesses and for the people to enjoy being in Downtown Bryan.
Usher in the holidays with this fun local tradition starting at Sale Park at 6 p.m. on November 16!