Friday is the 50th anniversary of a Lubbock holiday tradition. Carol of Lights takes place on the Texas Tech campus every year. This year's theme is ‘50 years of Shining Bright'.
The grounds crew at Texas Tech started hanging lights at the end of September. Organizers say they're expecting up to 20,000 people to turn out for the celebration. "It's fun to kick off the holiday season like that, with all the songs and everything," said organizer Tim Schlund.
Organizers say Texas Tech is the only university they know of with a lighting celebration of this magnitude. It's a celebration that's become a tradition for thousands. "I think this is one of the only opportunities for the Lubbock community and the Texas Tech community to come together and there's a general holiday spirit that goes along with the event that people really get in to and enjoy. Pulling the community together for the holidays, I think is what people enjoy the most," said Residential Life Coordinator, Craig Kuehnert.
The first Christmas celebration on the Tech campus started in the 1950's as a small gathering where people sang carols and drank hot chocolate. There actually weren't any lights for the first celebration and it used to be called Christmas Sing. Around 5,000 lights were introduced to the tradition in 1959. When the number increased to 16,000 two years later, organizers renamed the event Carol of Lights.
Today, the tradition keeps growing. "I'm most excited to see the second when the lights switch is flipped, and all the lights come on, and to watch people's reactions as they see the lights for the first time," said Kuehnert.
The celebration includes 25,000 lights outlining 13 buildings, a giant Christmas tree, a larger than life holiday wreath, lots of Christmas carols, and that special spirit of the season.