More than 90 years ago the Burns family started a tradition of putting Christmas displays in their front yard. After Mr. and Mrs. Burns died the displays were put away for three years, until the Burns home town Archer City offered the displays to MSU under the conditions that it would be in memory of the Burns family and a free event for the community.
While the Fantasy of Lights is free for the public, it is not cheap to maintain the numerous large displays, so this year the Fantasy of Lights committee added a 5K run to help raise money for maintaining the yearly holiday tradition. The Dec. 20 run starts at 9 a.m. on the east side of the Hardin building. Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt.
Joey Greenwood, director of recreational sports/wellness center and coordinator of summer camps/conferences, said the transportation storage and electricity to run the displays is all donor supported, so holding a fundraiser can help supplement that.
The run starts at the Fantasy of Lights display, and the course will take runners up to the country club and circle around to the Burns house on Harrison Street where runners can stop for hot chocolate and candy canes, finishing the race back at the Fantasy of Lights display on the Hardin lawn.
While Greenwood said the 5K is available to students, the date may deter some students from participating.
Rebecca Merz, business sophomore, said, “The run sounds interesting and for a good cause. Unfortunately I will already be out of town for Christmas so I will not be able to attend.”
When planning the 5K, Greenwood said he moved the Fantasy of Lights 5k to Dec. 20 to avoid conflicting with other marathons already planned for early December when classes are still in session.
Greenwood, said, “The Turkey Trot being close to the beginning of December I did not want there to be a pressure of choosing which event to attend.”
Since this is a community event, locals can raise money to keep more than 35 Fantasy of Lights displays up to date.
Cory Battista, freshman business, said, “I will be attending this event because I am local to Wichita Falls.”
Setting up Fantasy of Lights takes more than 600 hours
40 years of holiday cheer kicks off with three concerts
Music of the Hardin bell tower
Jesse Rogers’ last turn at Fantasy of Lights
Fantasy of Lights funded through donations
Gallery: Fantasy of Lights 2014