By Megan Wehring
KYLE — This time of year, residents begin to see hanging twinkling lights from homes, hear the joyful neighborhood carols and begin planning meals for large family gatherings. Holiday festivities may look different this year, but Kyle Parks and Recreation wants to keep some of that tradition alive by hosting a full schedule of virtual events to keep the spirit alive.
“The light display at downtown City Square Park not only includes a brand new Christmas tree” Parks and Recreation Director Mariana Espinoza told the city council on Tuesday, Nov. 17, “but the popular lighted tunnel that our former parks maintenance manager created last year will be triple the size,”
City Square lights at Mary Kyle Hartson Park will be on nightly from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting on Dec. 3, continuing through Jan. 3. Kyle Parks and Recreation will live-stream the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Facebook. Residents are encouraged to visit the park to see the Christmas lights while following safety precautions.
“Folks are encouraged to drive around the square,” Espinoza told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. “We are trying to face many of the displays outward. Those that wish to get out, there are some photo-ops.”
Santa will be visiting Kyle this year in designated neighborhoods. While Santa will not be allowed to exit the vehicle, children will still have the opportunity to see him in-person and wave; children can drop off their letters to Santa in the provided mailbox when he visits. Santa plans to visit the east side of I-35 on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the west side of I-35 on Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“This is a bright spot that I think showed our city a lot of enthusiasm and support with this,” said Council member Dex Ellison. “I was out there last year just surveying folks, asking them about our lights in our Square. To see everybody light up just makes me smile right now in talking about it.”
Parents will also be able to register their children to have a virtual visit with Santa for five to eight minutes. Upon registration, parents will choose a time and date for the visit. Kyle Parks and Recreation requests for only two children a session to ensure equal opportunity. Santa is busy this time of year, so the virtual visits will be limited to the time scheduled.
For more information and details about holiday events in the city of Kyle, visit the parks and recreation website.