BEST COMMUNITY EVENT: Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls
MARBLE FALLS — You can’t argue with 53,000 people representing all 50 states of the U.S. and 21 countries.
That’s the number of visitors to Walkway of Lights in 2016.
Still, the most important people are those whose vote made the annual Christmas lights display on Lake Marble Falls the favorite Community Event in the Marble Falls area in The Picayune’s Locals Love Us contest.
“I love Walkway,” said Elizabeth Maynard, events coordinator of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the event. “I like the way the community feels it brings about the Christmas spirit. To me, it’s a place where families go. It’s a tradition.”
The chamber added several activities this past holiday season to make Walkway of Lights even more appealing to families. Family Day activities included cookie decorating, tree decorating, writing letters to Santa, and photos with Santa.
Maynard said the goal was to get more families personally involved with Walkway and thank the residents for giving up part of Lakeside Park, the site of the event, for 45 days each holiday season that begins in mid-November.
“You get that warm fuzzy feeling, the Christmas spirit,” she said. “It’s all family; everything else disappears.”
Two million lights illuminate several displays, and Maynard promises that number will be surpassed in 2017.
The number of lights and displays explains in part why bus tours from across the state bring loads of visitors to the city the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to shop, dine, and experience the event for themselves.
To many, Walkway of Lights is a must-see on the Hill Country Lights tour that includes Llano, Burnet, and Johnson City. Residents in other communities look at Walkway and try to duplicate some of what is happening in Marble Falls. Maynard said the Marble Falls chamber makes it a point to share information with others because it benefits the Highland Lakes economies with visitors who are hungry, need a place to stay, or simply must fill up their gas tank.
“We really try to work with the surrounding communities that have light trails,” she said. “I like to think we share visitors.”
Planning already has started for Christmas 2017, she added.
“We have some changes,” she said with a smile. “We’ll be getting out there pretty soon.”
She noted Walkway couldn’t happen without the 300 volunteers, including electrician Terry Evans, who takes time out of his day to ensure everything is working properly.
And to those who thought Walkway of Lights wouldn’t continue, Maynard has a reassurance.
“It is happening,” she said. “Some people thought it wasn’t happening, I had heard that a lot. But we want people to know it is happening.”
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