Celebrating the 41 years of Fantasy of Lights

The Hardin Administration Building with the Fantasy of Lights displayed in front on Nov. 30. Photo by Kayla White.

The Hardin Administration Building with the Fantasy of Lights displayed in front on Nov. 30. Photo by Kayla White.

The song, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” fits for the Fantasy of Lights. Christmas is just 23 days away, and with the cold brisk air, twinkling lights, the warmth of hot cocoa and kids giving Santa Claus their Christmas lists, does feel a lot like Christmas.

Katelyn Vietti, education senior, said, “The Fantasy of Lights is my favorite event that MSU and Burns family host.”

More than 20,000 lights line the Hardin Administration Building, Moffett Library, Bolin Science Hall, Central Plant and D.L Ligon Coliseum year-round in anticipation of the annual “MSU Burns: Fantasy of Lights” while the front lawn of Hardin is host to the 37 lighted and animated scenes that make the display one of the city’s most popular holiday traditions. There is also a  new addition to this year’s display: Elf Band.

Karen Butcher, resident of Wichita Falls, said, “I’ve been to this event since I was seven years old and I still feel like a kid every time I go. I just love the lights and the attraction. I plan to be here next year as well.”

Not everyone was thrilled by the displays at the opening night.

Kinsey McCloud, undeclared freshmen, and Morgan Sinclair, sociology freshmen, take a pictures of the Fantasy of Lights displayed in front of the Hardin Administration Building on Nov. 30. Photo by Kayla White.

Kinsey McCloud, undeclared freshmen, and Morgan Sinclair, sociology freshmen, take a pictures of the Fantasy of Lights displayed in front of the Hardin Administration Building on Nov. 30. Photo by Kayla White.

Eight-year-old Adam Park said, “It was okay I guess. I didn’t like the looks the elves made at me at Santa Workshop. It totally freaked me out, and it was not cool.”

Midwestern State took over the Fantasy of Lights in 1973, when Archer City offered them the display. It wasn’t until a year later that the Fantasy of Lights were officially lit at Midwestern State.

“This was a huge move by Midwestern State for accepting Fantasy of Lights,” Greenwood said.

The set up and take down of the displays takes more than 1,200 hours. More than $40,000 have been donated to the Fantasy of Lights.

“All of our money that we get from Fantasy of Lights is through donations. We do not use any money from MSU,” Greenwood said.

Part of the donation coordination comes from the 36 adoptees that “adopt” a display at the Fantasy of Lights to help maintain each year.

Taylor Martin, nursing junior, said, “The whole display is really neat. This is actually my first time going and I will have to say that I love the Toy Story display the most.”

A Toys' Christmas adopted by the Ernst family show familar Pixar characters come to life displayed in front of the Hardin Administration Building on Nov. 30th. Photo by Kayla White.

A Toys’ Christmas adopted by the Ernst family show familar Pixar characters come to life displayed in front of the Hardin Administration Building on Nov. 30th. Photo by Kayla White.

Fantasy of Lights is starting its first year of donation through text messages, allowing people to contribute by texting FOL to 41444 with the amount to be donated.

“Just to make it clear, once you make your donation for Fantasy of Lights. There will be no text messaging fee,” Greenwood said.

As part of the Fantasy of Lights, the The Wellness Center will host a 5K run/walk on Dec. 19 at 10 a.m.

“A few students have already registered for the 5K, but this is also open to faculty and people in the community,” Greenwood said.

The 5K will start at the east lawn of the Hardin Administration Building with the route passing the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Burns.