ODESSA, Texas — If it wasn't official before, it certainly is now. The city of Odessa rang in the Christmas season with their annual Christmas tree lighting at McKinney Park.
Thursday's ceremony celebrated the opening of Starbright Village for the season. This is the largest light show yet – more than 80 lighted displays have been set out.
"This is our 32nd year, it's become a tradition all over the Permian Basin to come to Starbright Village and see all the displays we have every single year," Steve Patton, the Executive Director of Odessa Parks and Rec said.
Patton and his crew have spent the last six-months building this year’s village. This year’s tree is brighter than it ever has been – crews added twice as many lights for the 2019 season.
The 2018 season brought more than 208-thousand people through Starbright Village.
“This is the single largest event the city puts on every year. Our goal is to always outdo the year before,” Patton said.
That goal has made Starbright Village the largest light show between Dallas and El Paso.
Patton says the tradition started a city hall more than three decades ago. He gathered tree limbs from New Mexico to make the first tree.
“We set up all of these limbs and wrapped lights around them to make a big 50 foot Christmas tree,” he said.
The tree lighting caught on and was eventually moved to McKinney Park in the 90s.
“The ceremony kept getting bigger and bigger so I thought let’s put it at McKinney Park. It’s right off the Interstate and more people will be able to see it,” Patton said.