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2012-01-12

Christmas lights on river a holiday success

Special to the Courier

In December, a trail of holiday lights along the banks of the Medina River transformed turned Bandera City Park into a Christmas wonderland. The Bandera Business Association (BBA), City of Bandera, the Bandera Economic Development and participating merchants deserve a round of applause for lighting up Bandera for the Christmas Season of 2011!

Five years ago, members of the Bandera Business Association decided to light City Park with an eventual plan to join the Hill Country Trail of Lights. This group of Hill Country cities and communities advertise together to increase holiday tourism traffic in the Texas Hill Country.

"It has taken five years to get to this point," said Margret Paradee, president of the BBA. "This year we felt our lights were impressive enough to join the other communities in promoting Bandera as a place to see beautiful Christmas lights."

Other communities belonging to the Hill Country Trail of Lights include Blanco, Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Kerrville, Llano, Marble Falls, New Braunfels and Wimberley.

The Bandera Business Association was also responsible for lighting the courthouse lawn and Heritage Plaza, as well as hosting Shoppers's Jubilee. Local merchants also contributed by erecting scenes in the park to promote their businesses.

Merchants also donated to the project - which takes cooperation and funding to make it happen.

Bandera Electric Cooperative assisted
by providing funds to help convert
the project to LED lights. "The LED lights are more expensive but last up to five years and draw very little electricity" explained Genie Strickland, event coordinator. "We plan to expand the lighting more next year. We will continue to add more LED lights as we go."

The BBA also involved local nonprofits to help them raise money for their causes. Participating nonprofits organizations included the Brighter Day Horse Refuge, Bandera FFA, Bandera Methodist Church Youth Group, Bandera Optimist Club, and Hills of Heaven Outreach. Volunteers from the various nonprofits collected donations from visitors and locals who enjoyed the Christmas lighj. The donations were divided between the BBA Lighting Fund and the participating nonprofit.

And, it's never to early to look ahead to the next Christmas season, according to Paradee. "We plan a lighting contest with downtown merchants for 2012, as well as installing additional lights on the courthouse lawn and Heritage Plaza" she revealed. "Scenes in City Park will also be expanded. We hope more merchants will participate and, of course, we are open for suggestions!"