The holidays officially came to the TCU campus yesterday when the lights on the Christmas tree were illuminated at the annual tree lighting in the Campus Commons.
The Christmas Tree Lighting featured The Ricki Derek Band playing holiday favorites, and a surprise fireworks display.
Having a live band this year provided a different atmosphere compared to past years, Student Activities and Marketing Coordinator Brad Thompson said.
“We’ve kind of realized people want to come and hang out and take pictures and not participate in this whole, complicated thing,” he said. “This seemed like a little bit better fit, so it was a little more fun to have a band.”
Those attending the celebration could not only enjoy hot chocolate and holiday music, but could also get their pictures taken with Santa Claus and two of his reindeer.
The holiday event brought students, faculty, staff, families and pets to the Commons. Thompson said he thought between 3,000 and 3,500 people attended the tree lighting ceremony.
The Christmas Tree Lighting has become a tradition for some families such as Vassil Mihov’s.
Mihov, an associate professor of finance at the Neeley School of Business, said he had been coming with his family for many years and have created their own traditions around the Christmas Tree Lighting.
“We eat at the [Brown-Lupton University Union] before the lighting ceremony, so that’s kind of a family tradition now,” he said.
Olivia Taylor, a senior strategic communication major, said she and her roommate made the annual Christmas Tree Lighting a tradition.
Taylor said she remembered the light shows at the Christmas tree lighting at Sadler Hall in 2008 and in the Commons in 2009.
“My roommate said ‘We have to go, it’s the Christmas Tree Lighting!’” she said. “That’s why I’m here: tradition.”
Taylor said she enjoyed the Christmas Tree Lighting, and the fireworks this year served as a good light show.
She also liked that not only university students could enjoy the celebration.
“It’s always fun to see how many people come out, especially families and alumni,” she said. “It’s not just a campus event. It’s more of a Fort Worth event.”
This was the first Christmas tree lighting for Elise Decker, a freshman biology major. She said attending the celebration would become a tradition for her.
“I’m coming back,” she said. “My family lives around the area, so I might bring them around next year.”
Thompson said this year’s Christmas tree lighting went “back to the basics.” Although he didn’t see the crowd’s reaction, he said it sounded like everyone was surprised by the fireworks.
“It sounded like everyone was excited and surprised,” he said. “It looked really neat.”