For 22 years now, Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style has been perhaps the single largest tourist attraction for the Johnson City community. However, from a financial standpoint – the non-profit is struggling this year.
"The only money the Lights Spectacular committee has to prepare for the festivities comes from public donations and from the sales of ornaments made by the Garden Club that are sold at the courthouse," stated organizer Rhonda Stell.
According to Stell, the Lights Spectacular Committee in years past has typically averaged somewhere around $2000 to spend on preparations for the event that Southern Living magazine actually declared as "the centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail… with a courthouse that ‘shines brighter than the star of Bethlehem.’"
Unfortunately, Stell stated that this year’s Lights Spectacular Committee is operating on a limited budget of only $400 - $500. "Due to the economy our donations are down, and we really need to get more money and volunteers involved in the festivities this year," she said.
Many of the lights and panels on which the lights are hung were in poor shape after last year’s festivities and needed to be replaced this year. The non-profit was forced to take out a $2800 loan from the Johnson City bank in order to make sure the event was still as festive as it has been in the past.
"Residents can help the annual Lights Spectacular event by making a financial contribution at the Johnson City Bank. We have an account set up, and all they have to say is that they want to make a deposit into that account," Stell said.
In years past the Lights Park Committee has started decorating the park in downtown Johnson City beginning at the end of October. Shelly Clausen may be contact at (956)536-2460. If high school students need Eagles in Service hours, this would be a great opportunity.
This annual extravaganza was also featured on the cover of the Texas Highways Magazine in 2010. Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style will light up the skies nightly until midnight, from November 25 to January 1. And in a down economy, parents will appreciate the fact that admission to all of the events is absolutely free.
The holiday party officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, during "Black Friday." But there’s nothing dark, or black about this much anticipated event that attracts thousands of tourists annually to our small town. In fact, the exact opposite can be said as millions of twinkling lights dazzle residents and tourists who flock to the show.
Last year, an explosion of fireworks lit up the night sky to help kick off the event – however, this year due to the obvious lack of rain and burn ban fireworks will not be present. This nevertheless, will not stop the festivities from proceeding as scheduled.
Volunteers who are willing to help make the 22nd Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style event a huge success can attend the first work day of the season this Saturday, October 15th at 8:30 am. You are encouraged to meet up at the committee’s storage building located in Johnson City on Danz Well Road, just off of Avenue Q.
For more information, call Rhonda Stell at (830) 868-7275.
For a full listing of Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style events as well as information on dining, lodging and shopping in Johnson City, check the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce website at www.lbjcountry.com.