Lights tour to brighten Waco

By Carmen Galvan
Staff Writer

The Waco Transit System will host its sixth annual Holiday Tour of Lights, a one-hour tour that displays some of the best Christmas lights in Waco, beginning on Dec. 17. The three-day event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. every evening until Dec. 19, said Allen Hunter, assistant general manager of the Waco Transit System.

Hunter said the Holiday Tour of Lights began six years ago as a way to join families and engage the community.

“It’s a great family event,” Hunter said. “It’s kind of hard to participate as a family when you have to concentrate on driving and finding lights, so this is a nice way to sit back and let someone else worry about where the lights are.”

Bus riders will gather between Ross and Payless at Central Texas Marketplace, which is located at the corner of Highway 6 and Interstate 35. There will be games for children staffed by employees from the Waco Transit System, free hot chocolate provided by Panera Bread and the antique trolley will shuttle visitors to different shopping areas of the marketplace, said Brandon Thomas, marketing director for the Waco Transit System.

“Everybody loves it,” Thomas said. “For a lot of people it’s a family tradition. There will be games for kids, a Santa to take pictures with, hot chocolate – it’s really a destination, not just a trolley ride.”

Thomas said the Holiday Tour of Lights is a popular event in Waco and that he has already seen a positive response.

“Tickets went on sale this week and we got a huge response,” Thomas said. “We are hoping for a good response and more growth this year. The bigger we can get it and the more people who enjoy it makes it more fun for us.”

Thomas said he expects at least 2,000 to join the festivity of lights at the one-weekend event and has chartered six buses for each night of the tour. The route is created by various bus drivers and Hunter, as they search for some of the best lighting decorations in the city that may be toured within a 55-minute bus ride. Three of the buses will be reserved for those who pre-purchased their tickets, and the other three will be for those who buy tickets on-site. Participants will ride the bus on a first-come, first-served basis, and all the buses will play Christmas music from Mix 92.9, said Dustin Drew, program director and morning show co-host at Mix 92.9.

“We got involved through our relations with the Waco Transit since we are the official radio station of Waco Transit throughout the year,” Drew said. “We also play Christmas music throughout the holiday and we thought it would be a natural match since we play Christmas music all the time and they decided to do the holiday tour of lights.”

Tickets are $4 per person and people are encouraged to purchase tickets before the event as they sell out quickly. For ticket information call Waco Transit at 750-1900.