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Parade Opens Marble Falls Walkway of Lights

Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls is open 6-10 p.m. Nov. 16-Jan. 1. Admission is free. Staff photo by Jared Fields

If you’ve been looking for Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce volunteer Terry Evans the past several weeks, he’s been at Lakeside Park and the chamber’s nearby storage facility, working to get Walkway of Lights up and shining.

And he’ll still be there, along with others volunteers and chamber staff, up until the evening officials flip the switch on the 28th annual Christmas lights display, which is Friday, Nov. 16, right after the Light-Up Parade down Main Street.

“It takes a lot to get this ready,” Evans said.

Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce volunteer Terry Evans gets reindeer light sculptures ready for the 2017 Walkway of Lights on the shores of Lake Marble Falls. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

On this day, he’s at the park connecting wiring, making sure the lines are set and ready, and inspecting spots where someone might have to dig a hole to install a light sculpture or Christmas tree. On other days, he has been working away in the chamber’s storage barn, checking lights, stringing LEDs on sculptures, and performing a myriad of other duties.

It’s not just Evans. The chamber staff, directors, and volunteers put in countless hours leading up to the opening of Walkway of Lights. It sometimes means sneaking away from work for a few hours or even dealing with cold, wet weather.

Evans has been doing it for about 21 years.

“Brenda Morris got me into this,” he said, referring to a former chamber director, “but I found that I really enjoyed this.”

Since he started helping two decades ago, Evans has seen Walkway of Lights change and grow. Visitors coursing through the lakeside lights extravaganza will find 400 lighted sculptures. The chamber is working to convert many to LED lights, which save energy and money. This year, Evans said, they’ve converted the two main tunnels to LEDs: the green one people walk through at the end of Walkway as well as the one going into SantaLand, which has red, white, and blue lights and stars overhead.

The chamber added SantaLand a few years ago, and kids can find Santa and Mrs. Claus hanging out there on some nights.

Though Walkway of Lights draws about 50,000 people each year, Evans said it didn’t start out as an event to bring tourists to Marble Falls.

“The chamber did it as a way to say thank you to the community for supporting them,” he said.

It’s truly a vision of lighted wonder as the Light-Up Parade makes it way down Main Street in Marble Falls to kick off the annual Walkway of Lights. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

While other displays wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving to get started, the chamber had a good reason for lighting up Lake Marble Falls before the holiday.

“It was something to bring everyone together,” Evans said. “We do it before Thanksgiving so everyone who is coming back to town, to be with their families, they can come down here and enjoy it during the Thanksgiving week.”

When Walkway of Lights begins, Evans’ work doesn’t end. He’ll be around to monitor things and help maintain the display. As a licensed electrician with his own business, Evans Electric, he schedules his company work around his volunteer efforts on Walkway.

It can mean long days for Evans, 12 hours or more.

When he’s walking through all the lights on the shores of Lake Marble Falls and he spies a child with their eyes wide with wonder, pointing at the lights and smiling as big and bright as the Milky Way, Evans knows it’s worth it.

“I love seeing the kids come through here, and now you have parents who came here as kids coming through with their kids. It’s special. That’s why I do it,” he said.

Then the spry 71-year-old added, “And it keeps me young.”

Walkway of Lights is open Nov. 16-Jan. 1 from 6-10 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Lakeside Park is located at 307 Buena Vista Drive on Lake Marble Falls.

Go to marblefalls.org to learn how you can support Walkway of Lights through sponsorships, donations, or volunteering.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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