Share holiday spirit at festival

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We have some advice for anyone who thinks it may be difficult to get into the proper frame of mind to enjoy the holidays this year — plan to be on the downtown Denton Square on Friday night.

If you’re anywhere near the Courthouse on the Square at 110 W. Hickory St. by 5:30 p.m. or so, we have a feeling that the sights and sounds of the 24th annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival will work their magic. Even Scrooge himself would have a difficult time resisting this hometown tradition. It’s a show with few equals — a true holiday spectacular, and you’re the guest of honor.

Faces will be aglow with festive holiday lighting, and children of all ages are guaranteed to smile as they listen to musical presentations and watch dance performances. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides, children’s crafts and visits with Santa. There will be handbells, choirs and drill teams.

Students from local schools and universities will be among the performers and the Denton Community Band — which has been a part of the festival since its inception — will be back as the opening act this year and to accompany the crowd for a sing-along of holiday favorites.

Scheduled for later in the evening, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., is the Denton Holiday Music Spectacular, a show featuring an 11-piece orchestra directed by David Pierce and featuring Brent Best, members of Midlake, Bonnie and Nick Norris, Paul Slavens, Steve Wiest — director of the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band — and Jeffrey Barnes among many others.

Stroll around the downtown area to check in on the various stages and performance venues, and we’re sure you’ll capture the true spirit of a hometown holiday celebration.

There will even be a great opportunity to help make others’ holidays a little brighter. In addition to visiting Santa, you can play Santa’s helper by bringing along a donation for a toy drive.

Denton County Toy Store is hosting the Toy Drive at the Holiday Lighting Festival. This nondenominational, nonprofit organization, a ministry of Asbury United Methodist Church, has served the children of qualified families in Denton County since 1969. In the years since it was founded, the organization has helped thousands of youngsters have a happier Christmas.

Toys collected Friday night will be distributed to Denton County families needing assistance during the Christmas season. A drive-through toy drop-off will be on the southeast corner of the Square. If you can’t bring a toy to the festival, you can drop one off prior to the event at several locations. You’ll find a list of drop-off points and other information about the Holiday Lighting Festival at http://dentonholidaylighting.com.

A lot of hard work goes into the Holiday Lighting Festival, which is hosted by the Denton Holiday Festival Association Inc. This not-for-profit organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors and raises funds from the private sector to support the festival. A lot of area businesses, organizations and individuals have contributed to the continuing success of the event.

Like we said, a visit to the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival is the best way we know to get the holidays off to a good start.

Share the spirit and join in the fun. You’ll be glad you did.


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