Almost 300,000 lights will encase the Lavaca County Courthouse again for the annual Festival of Lights.

Hallettsville community members will come together Nov. 30 to light the square downtown to welcome the Christmas season. The Festival of Lights features a parade, pageant and lighting ceremony after Thanksgiving. It begins at noon and runs to 6 p.m. hosted by the Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

“It’s a great community builder,” Monsignor John Peters said. “It’s a good start for the Christmas season.”

Food vendors, arts, crafts and commercial booths will be part of the festivities. Funding for the festival comes from the Hallettsville Industrial Corporation, the city and various donations, Peters said. Jean and Roy Schaefer are organizing the festival with the help of Jim Jakubek.

The parade begins at 6:15 p.m. and will loop around the courthouse. All floats will be lit for the celebration.

“Santa’s Kiddie Parade” will run before the parade at 6:05 p.m. for kids up to 13 years old. All the participants will be dressed in holiday attire.

Peters, who is a pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, said the sight is beautiful, and he looks forward to the festival every year.

“It just fills the square,” he said. “People come from all over.”

He said it brings those who moved away back home to celebrate the Christmas season before leaving town again.

But, the event doesn’t happen overnight.

Many volunteer hours go into making the event a success. He said two Lower Colorado River Authority trucks and city trucks come in to string up the lights at the top of the courthouse, which is 170 feet tall.

“It’s a chore,” Peters said. “It’s well worth it.”

The event began in 1996, the 100th anniversary of the courthouse’s construction. A small group of people wanted to bring the town together, and they created the Festival of Lights, Peters said.

The event had been rained out twice since it started 23 years ago, but regardless of the weather, the 300,000 lights will shine in downtown Hallettsville.

“It’s been a great blessing for the community,” Peters said. “It’s brought a lot of people together.”

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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