Hallettsville lights up again: Festival of lights returns
By BY DIANNA WRAY
Nov. 27, 2010 at 5:27 a.m.
Updated Nov. 29, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.
HALLETTSVILLE - A gasp emitted from the crowd as the white Christmas lights winked on, flooding the darkened courthouse square with light.
After a year off, the Hallettsville Festival of Lights returned Saturday.
"It's a good feeling. I like seeing the way the kids eyes widen when they see all of the lights come on," Festival of Lights co-chairman Roy Schaefer said.
The festival, which started in 1997, was intended to be an event for the children, Schaefer said.
People from across the community look forward to the festival, which includes a lighted Christmas parade and the life of Jesus presented in a pageant. Food and shopping also kept people entertained.
Schaefer said they expected more than 1,200 people to attend the event this year.
But the main show was the lights.
"I missed them last year," Hallettsville resident Doris Gilbreth said.
Last year, the courthouse was being renovated and they couldn't have the festival. Gilbreth said she and her daughter, Becky Sharpe, watch it every year and missed it terribly.
Sharpe agreed, saying she was glad to see the festival return.
"It makes it feel like Christmas time has started, especially when they turn on the lights. It wasn't the same last year without it," Sharpe said, as the two sat bundled up against the cold, waiting for the show to begin.
Victoria resident Alice Garcia said she was thrilled to see the lights for the first time this year.
"Oh yes, I'm excited. Of course I love old courthouses anyway," Garcia said.
The courthouse underwent extensive renovations last year. Schaefer said it was a little more challenging setting up this year, because they had to get more lights, trees, garlands and other decorations.
The lights were exciting, but for 5-year-old Brynn Webb meeting Santa Claus was the highlight.
"It was great. He was nice and gave us treats," Brynn said.
Kaylee Svetlik, 6, agreed. She bounced like a ball back to her mother's side after meeting Santa.
"I loved meeting Santa, because he's going to bring me lots of presents," Kaylee said.