Beloved tradition returns Monday night to brighten up the holidays


MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights will open on November 22

A beloved Wichita Falls tradition will brighten up the holiday season once again. The MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights will light up the night at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 22, on the lawn of the Hardin Administration Building at Midwestern State University.

This year marks the 47th anniversary of MSU Texas’ association with the tradition started by Wichita Falls businessman LT Burns and his wife Lillian in the 1920s.

The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with MSU Carillonneur Jim Quashnock playing holiday music on the Hardin Tower Redwine Carillon. At 6 p.m., Acting MSU Texas President James Johnston will flip the switch to light up the Hardin Lawn and bring more than 40 light scenes and animations to life.

Santa Claus is expected to make the trip from the North Pole to take pictures.

Live entertainment returns to the limelight with MSU Texas musical ensembles presenting a Fantasy of Lights concert at 7:00 p.m. in the Akin Auditorium.

The Career Education Center at the Wichita Falls Independent School District continued its tradition of contributing to Fantasy of Lights by performing structural work on Peter Pan’s ship and the Texas Nutcracker Carousel. Former MSU Texas Wichita Falls Museum of Art program director Mary Helen Maskill has done extensive paint and fiberglass work on several figures.

During the community service day on October 2, many displays received a new coat of paint. Most notable is Cinderella’s trainer, who was pink for many years. Students in the Priddy Scholars program painted the car light blue, which more closely matches the color depicted in the classic Disney animated film Cinderella from 1950.

In memory of Paul Ernst, the builder of Frozen Christmas and Toys ‘Christmas, who passed away in September, the family will have a commemorative plaque on the Toys’ Christmas exhibit.

Following:Volunteers flock to return from the Fantasy of Lights workday

Traffic signs and ropes will be used again this year to maintain orderly traffic.

The Polar Bear Express WF trolley will run from dusk until 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, November 25, through Christmas night. Tickets cost $ 10. Children under 5 travel for free. MSU Texas students with current ID travel free Sunday through Thursday evening. Check online for updates and location.

Entrance to Fantasy of Lights is free. Donations are welcome and necessary to maintain the exhibits and make Fantasy of Lights a successful holiday tradition. Donations can be made using the special boxes placed in the displays or online.

The screens will be on seven days a week, from dusk to 10 p.m. until Saturday, December 26. Daytime special requests have been suspended again this season. For more information, visit the Fantasy of Lights website or call 940-397-4352.

Scheduled performances (unless otherwise indicated, performances take place in the center of the Hardin building)

Thursday 2 December

6:00 p.m. Wichita Falls High School Jazz Band

6:30 p.m. Tour Elementary Treble Clef Honor Choir

7 p.m. Franklin Elementary School Choir

Tuesday, December 7

6 p.m. Fain primary school choir

6.30 p.m. Ben Milam Primary School Choir

Thursday December 9

7:00 p.m. McNiel Middle School Choir

Saturday, December 18

3:00 p.m. Wichita Falls Tuba Christmas in the Akin Auditorium

Fun run, November 20

In-person registration for the 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 20, on the lawn of the Hardin Administration Building, with the run starting at 10 a.m. Registration for the 5K is $ 25, and $ 15 for the 1 mile fun run. The first 100 registrants will receive a long-sleeved running t-shirt. Pre-register online here.

A $ 25 gift card will be given to the fastest male and female 5k runners, the best dressed male and female participants on a holiday theme, and the less well dressed male and female participants on the holiday theme. All proceeds from registration help support the MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights.

History of lights

In the 1920s, when the Burns were honeymooners, they could only afford to place a single light bulb on a tree on the front porch as a Christmas decoration. With Burns’ success in the oil industry, the couple started adding more lights and displays every year. He died in a car accident in 1954, but Ms. Burns continued to add to their home’s displays on Clarinda Avenue and Harrison Street. After his death in 1971, the lights were left to his son, who died in 1974. The lights were then entrusted to Archer City. The city offered the lights to Midwestern on the condition that they be operated free of charge in Ms. Burns’ memory. A photo of Ms. Burns greeting visitors is displayed near the welcome sign. Today, the descendants of the Burns are active in the work of Fantasy of Lights and sponsor several exhibitions.


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