Holiday Lights Festival Kicks Off

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

A Thanksgiving tradition continued Thursday as thousands gathered at Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha for the lighting ceremony and start to the Holiday Lights Festival.

Mark Getz and his family of five are about to start a new family tradition.

“This is the first year we've stayed in Omaha for Thanksgiving so we thought, boy it looked like all fun and the kids were really excited about coming down,” said Getz.

They were anxiously waiting for the lights to switch on.

“Really pretty like we do when we light the Christmas tree,” said Getz’s daughter.

But for those who were standing in the hot chocolate line, the unseasonable warm weather didn’t stop them from getting a warm chocolate drink.

“It's warm, it's warm out tonight,” said Bobbie Joy Smith.

And the anticipation of the lights has first timers like Tessa Stevens excited too.

“I've heard it looks really pretty with all the lights on and all the singing and food,” said Stevens.

Just before flipping the switch, Mayor Jim Suttle reminded everyone of the flood this summer, saying this years holiday lights were a sign of triumph and moving forward.

Back with the Getz family, a new tradition is born, one that will make Thanksgiving nights shine bright.

“They love Christmas music and they love being downtown and I think seeing their faces when the lights come on is going to be pretty exciting,” said Getz.

3000 luminaries were handed out to people who brought canned food items to donate to the “Shine the Light On Hunger” campaign. You can drop off donations at any of the blue bins around the city through the holiday season.

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