The start of the holiday season is here and celebrations are beginning to commence.
Lights On!, a popular family event in Bryan, is kicking off the holiday spirit on Friday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. by turning on Christmas lights along the historic downtown area, accompanied by live music and shopping.
Katelyn Brown, community engagement manager at the Downtown Bryan Association, said Lights On! is a great start to residents’ holiday celebrations.
“This is basically an event to kick off the holiday season in Bryan,” Brown said. “To do that, we invite the community to come and switch on the thousands and thousands of lights we have up along the buildings and strung in the trees downtown.”
According to Downtown Bryan’s website, The Salvation Army Band, Texas A&M Singing Cadets and SFA Middle School Orchestra will all play at Lights On! Goodie bags will be given out, and there are different activities like writing letters to Santa Claus and taking pictures in the holiday-themed photo booths.
Brown, who has been running the event since 2017, said the event has proven to be ideal for families.
“Lights On! is a free, family friendly event, which is a huge draw for people to come to the celebration,” Brown said. “The live music is free and so are the holiday cookies we give out. I think the community really enjoys the opportunity to experience downtown.”
While Bryan has a smaller population than College Station, the event is still expected to have a large turnout.
“We usually get a couple thousand people out here throughout the entirety of the event,” Brown said. “Obviously, with COVID things will most likely look different, but we usually do have a pretty good turnout.”
Not only is Lights On! a holiday event for families and children, but it also brings money to the small businesses located downtown.
Chocolate Gallery, located on Main Street in Bryan, is one of the many shops that experiences an increase in customers during the Lights On! celebration. Chocolate Gallery executive pastry chef Ciana Neubauer said their business will increase while the festival is going on.
“It doesn’t matter if the decorations are already up, Christmas doesn’t really start until we have Lights On!,” Neubauer said. “We do get a lot more business during the celebration, and since it is so family friendly, there are always children getting their parents to stop and buy them some sweets.”
Downtown Bryan’s website has also posted COVID-19 protocols to promote a safe environment during the event and ask that all guests wear a mask.