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UIW flips switch on 1 million Christmas lights

UIW's Christmas lights will be up through January 6.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
UIW's Christmas lights will be up through January 6 and can be easily seen from Broadway

The University of the Incarnate Word hosted its annual Light the Way Festival on Saturday, sponsored by H-E-B, with live music, food trucks and vendors. The university lit more than 1 million Christmas lights during the event.

Event spokeswoman Megan Kuentz said Light the Way has grown over its 35 years.

"This has definitely been a evolution. It started off as a student-run event that we had in the convocation center, but we outgrew that because it became very popular. Then we moved to the football stadium and then we outgrew that because it grew even more popular. Now it is a full-on, day-long festival," she said.

The live music, food trucks and vendors left after opening night, but the lights will remain on at night through Jan. 6.

Students volunteers sort through the lights earlier in the fall to make sure they all work before they go up on buildings and trees.

"For three days, we sit in one of the ballrooms and we help them out. We go through every single strand, bulb-by-bulb and replace the broken ones, the faded ones, and the ones that maybe are missing, so we have the full 1 million ready to go," she said.

Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
Left to right: Dr. Holly Cassells, dean of the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions; Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, UIW Provost; Dr. Linda Hook, Assistant Professor of Nursing; Red the Cardinal Mascot; Dr. Thomas M. Evans, UIW President flip the ceremonial Light the Way switch

University of Incarnate Word President Thomas Evans and Red the Cardinal were among those to flip a large, red ceremonial switch to get things started on Saturday.

Both also were celebrating the UIW football team's recent Southland Conference championship during the ceremony.

The 9-2 Cardinals will host their first FCS Playoff game in program history this Saturday against Stephen F. Austin at home.

UIW is the largest Catholic university in Texas with more than 9,300 students enrolled globally and around 40,000 alumni.

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