Tonight is the opening night for the MSU Burns Fantasy of Lights. The Wichita Falls Christmas tradition began on the lawn of Mr. and Mrs. L.T. Burns in the late 1920’s. As the years passed, the displays grew in size and number.

Upon Mrs. Burns’ death in May of 1971, the displays were moved to storage in Archer City, where many of Burns family employees worked and lived. In 1974, Archer City offered the displays to Midwestern State University on one condition: they had to be displayed annually and free to the public as a memorial to Mrs. Burns.

Contrary to what you may have heard over the years, Midwestern State University does not fund the annual display. A non-profit committee was formed to raise funds to operate and maintain the displays (Side note: I was honored to be invited earlier this year to join this committee).

Year after year, this committee and an army of volunteers donate their time to refurbish, maintain and assemble the displays on the Hardin lawn along Taft Blvd. And it is through the generosity of donations from you, the public, and several local businesses, that this display continues to delight children of all ages year after year.

Food trucks will be on site tonight, so bring an appetite. Opening night entertainment: Jim Quashnock & the Hardin Bell Tower Holiday Jingles performance at 5:30 PM. The opening ceremony begins at 6:00 PM. Children from the Ben Franklin Elementary School Choir perform at 6:30 PM and the Midwestern State University Wind Ensemble performance in Akin Auditorium will be at 7 PM.

The displays will be operated from dusk to 10 pm nightly through December 25th. So when you walk by or drive by and see those volunteers out there with the boots collecting money, know this: those donations are why this display can continue each Christmas season. So please, help out with whatever you can.