Story by Tabitha Mueller, Photos by Ty O’Neil
Beginning to celebrate the Christmas season before or after Thanksgiving is usually a divisive issue. For folks attending Saturday’s Lights Up at The Summit, however, the answer was a no-brainer.
“You can give thanks all the way through Christmas,” said Reno resident Rogelio Garcia. “If they could just do this [tree lighting] after Halloween, I would have been here three times already,” he added.
Garcia wore an ugly Christmas sweater featuring a reindeer with red, yellow, and green Christmas lights wrapped around its antlers and the words “Where’s the party?” embroidered across the front. A pair of antlers adorned his head.
“Naturally, [I had to wear this] to get others into the spirit cause it’s not quite Thanksgiving, so if you look around, people still need help,” he said.
The annual Lights Up at the Summit, a free community event, had a laser light show, Christmas tree lighting ceremony, live music, food trucks, a s’mores station and a meet and greet with Santa Claus.
Children stared in awe at the lights bouncing around the outdoor plaza, occasionally pointing out an image to their loved ones. “Look over there!” they said as they spun to look at a snowflake projected onto the wall.
Holiday characters such as Frosty the Snowman, the Abominable Snowman, and Rudolph danced around the tree offering to take selfies and photos with visitors.
It’s November, it’s not even December yet, but you start with this [warm] feeling, so I like it.”
Nelly Serafin brought her daughters to the event.
“[I brought my girls for] the Christmas spirit. I love [this event] because you can really feel the start of the season. It’s November, it’s not even December yet, but you start with this [warm] feeling, so I like it,” she said.
Reno’s radio station Wild 102.9 played music for the assembled crowd and took part in the festivities.
“It’s all about the holidays; it’s all about making people feel good,” said Mo Ayala, a morning radio host for the station. “It’s never too early to celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Christmas, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and double-time in December. It’s never too early.”
Although this reporter sides with those who start celebrating after Thanksgiving, she acknowledges that regardless of where you stand on the issue, the essential part of the holiday is spreading joy and spending quality time with family and loved ones.
Tabitha Mueller is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist based out of Reno, Nevada. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and English and American Literatures from Middlebury College. When she is not tracking down a story or listening to podcasts, you can find her hiking Nevada’s gorgeous terrain, perusing local bookstores, playing Quidditch, and discovering Reno’s hidden stories.