The City of Allen's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting began as a small community event more than 15 years ago but has since grown from a gathering of approximately 150 people, to a crowd of more than 1,000 people. It was originally held at the fire station and the lights were strung from a flag pole. It then moved to the front of City Hall and the tree was an Eastern Red Cedar that was transplanted from Allen Station Park in 2000. The program was held in the parking lot. In 2004 the event moved into the newly designed Civic Plaza. The tree then became a 35 foot artificial tree with more than 20,000 lights. The move to the Plaza also allowed for more holiday decorations and lights. We now have more than 40,000 lights in the Plaza and on the buildings surrounding the plaza.
The objective of the event is to provide a fun, unique event that will kick off the other Holiday events happening during the weekend. As participants enter the event by lighted path they will be greeted by Santa's Elves and carolers who will unveil a sea of more than 40,000 lights in the Plaza. The Holiday tree lit with more than 15,000 white lights will be the center of attention.
The event includes a Holiday Program featuring groups such as Class Act, the Allen Ice Angels, the Allen High School Encore Choir and Marion Elementary School Choir. During the program the Mayor steps in and talks about the meaning of the holiday season and then counts down the lighting of the tree in conjunction with fountain fireworks. At the completion of the performance the choir will sing Here Comes Santa Claus to introduce Santa and Mrs. Claus. The show will officially conclude with a fireworks show off the roof of City Hall. The event also have many activities for children including character interactions, a craft station, 3 face painters, the Texas Snowman activity, a movie and letters to Santa.
Several local organization come onboard to provide treats. This year treats were provided by Raintree Pediatrics, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen, CoffeeNCream, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Sublime Chocolate, Mealtime Market, New Heritage Church, Tree of Life Chiropractic, First Christian Church of Allen and Key Club. The treats included coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn and sipping chocolate.
The photo displayed above was taken while we were testing the screen prior to the event. The children belong to several treat providers from the event. I love how they kids were completely mesmerized by the inflatable movie screen despite the fact some many other activities were taking place around them at that time.