PHOTOS: 2022 Holiday Square Tree Lighting Ceremony Kicks Off Christmas Season
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.
That is, as long as everywhere you go consists of various parts of Downtown Casper and Conwell Park, across the street from Banner Wyoming Medical Center.
That's because Conwell Park is home to a cacophony of Christmas lights as it hosts the aptly named 'Holiday Square.'
And the Holiday Square was luminescent, illuminated by both the lights of the Christmas trees and the light inside everybody's eyes who happened to be there. There was magic in the air on Sunday, as countless Casper residents came out for the first real Christmas event of the season: the Holiday Square Tree Lighting.
Mayor Ray Pacheco was on hand to deliver an opening message. As is usually the case, Pacheco took the opportunity to try and inspire the community to walk in kindness, no matter the season.
"Everyone seems to be a little happier, a little more hopeful," Pacheco told the crowd.
He stated that the tradition of the Holiday Square Tree Lighting began in 1998, with just 11 trees.
"We didn't have power to Conwell Park at the time, and we used a generator to power the lights," he stated. "It was intended to send a message of hope, love, and joy to the patients and visitors of the hospital who were going through a very difficult time. As more lights have been added through the years, it has been transformed into a holiday square. And now that message touches not only the hospital, but the entire community."
Indeed, it does.
And none of it would be possible, Pacheco said, if it wasn't for community sponsors.
Countless people were at the park on Sunday, taking in the sights and sounds, sipping hot chocolate, and standing in line to meet Santa Claus and his wife, Mrs. Christmas. The weather more or less cooperated, and there was even a little bit of snow on the ground.
People were excited. They were content. They were happy.
Pacheco told everybody to enjoy the lights, and then he went off script a little bit to give one final message before the countdown.
"Our community is a beautiful community," Mayor Pacheco stated. "And there is one message when we go into the holidays season, and that message should be one of hope, love, and understanding that we are all different; that we all have difference in opinions. But I hope that this time of the year, we come together as one to understand that, while we may be different and have different opinions, we can still see the goodness in one another."
And maybe that's something we could all stand to remember; not just this season, but every season. Maybe we can all remember how we felt tonight: joyful, loving, excited, kind to each other. Maybe we can remember those feelings every day, and try to treat one another with the kindness, compassion, and love that we did on this night.
Maybe, just maybe, we can be each other's lights.
Photos and video from the Holiday Square Tree Lighting can be seen below: