Christmas Events in WT, Canyon to Include Festival of Lights, Community Celebrations, Concerts, More

Chip Chandler Nov 20, 2023
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Christmas Events in WT, Canyon to Include Festival of Lights, Community Celebrations, Concerts, More

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University will join forces with the city of Canyon to officially kick off the holiday season with several activities in coming weeks.

The community is invited to join WT students, faculty and staff at President Walter V. and Mary Wendler’s annual Christmas reception and the Festival of Lights on Nov. 29, and activities will continue over the next several days.

The Wendlers’ reception will run from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 29 in Legacy Hall inside the Jack B. Kelley Student Center. The party—which is open to the community, as well as WT donors—will offer hors d’oeuvres and a hot chocolate bar, plus music from the WT Jazz Quartet.

Immediately following the reception, the community is invited to attend the Festival of Lights around the Buffalo Fountain on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall in the heart of the WT campus.

The Wendlers’ reception and Festival of Lights are the kickoff to a busy weekend of holiday activities in Canyon.

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum’s Christmas Open House will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, and Canyon Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas in Canyon events will kick off at 4 p.m. Dec. 2, including the Parade of Lights at 6:30 p.m. around the downtown square, followed by the lighting of the Canyon Christmas tree and fireworks.

Plus, the WT Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday concert, “I Heard the Bells! Music of the Christmas Season,” will be held at 4 and 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Other upcoming holiday programming will include WT Opera’s performances of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall, and the WT Chamber Singers’ Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in Northen Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for “Amahl” and free for the Chamber Singers.

The highlight of the Festival of Lights is the official lighting of the WT campus. More than 115,000 bulbs will twinkle all around campus, a nearly 44 percent increase over last year. Trees and shrubbery all around campus—including the towering American elms along 26th Avenue—will be illuminated. Lit buildings will include Old Main, the JBK, the Killgore Research Center, Cornette Library, the Engineering and Computer Sciences Building, and the Natural Sciences Building.

The WT Chamber Singers will perform holiday music, then lead a singalong at the end of the festivities. Speakers will include President Wendler; Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders; WT Student Body President Filiberto Avila, a senior digital communication and media major from Spearman; and Ransom Collette, president of the Residence Hall Association and a junior mechanical engineering and mathematics major from Big Spring.

Santa Claus will arrive via a Canyon Fire Department firetruck and will be available for family photos.

Bucky will hand out red and green glow necklaces, and cookies, hot chocolate and cider will be served. Children can enjoy a petting zoo, obstacle course and bounce houses.

Participating student organizations include Hispanic Student Association, WT Spectrum, Ceramics Club, the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership, F1RSTGEN, the Darlings of WT, and others.

A new, unwrapped toy can be brought to Festival of Lights for the Hispanic Student Association’s Toy Drive. Donors will receive two tickets to any regular-season home WT basketball game this season.

Festival of Lights began in 1990 and, other than 2020, has been held annually as the Residence Hall Association’s longest-running tradition.

WT’s relationship to the community is a critical maxim of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.