12-6 A1 PKG: Lighting of the Arroyo::1

HARLINGEN — “Five, four, three, two, one,” was heard in unison as the lights turned on at McKelvey Park.

The 33rd annual Lighting of the Arroyo began at 6:30 p.m. yesterday with hundreds of people waiting to witness the lights and the fake snow.

A few were standing, others brought their chairs with them to sit back in the grass as their children played.

For some it was their first time attending. Others had already been before but have made it a family tradition.

Cecilia Rivera said she had never been to the Lighting of the Arroyo. Originally from Harlingen, she moved back from Austin.

“We read about it online but it is my very first time in my life here,” Rivera said.

Rivera was accompanied by her husband, sons and daughter. None of them had ever attended before.

“They should do this more often. I feel like it is kind of like a drive-in,” she said.

Fidel Rojas, 28, one of her sons, said he loved the atmosphere.

“It’s amazing, very family oriented, very welcoming,” Rojas said.

Besides the lights being turned on, families were treated to performances by Harlingen school district students.

Free Christmas pictures with Santa were available and food vendors were nearby for those looking to get a snack.

Pupusas, corn on the cob, funnel cakes and more were in the hands of several people coming in to see the lights and take pictures.

Malachi Mascorro, 8, said it was his second time attending. However, his favorite part had nothing to do with Christmas.

“I like that I get to run up and down and run down the hills”, Malachi said.

“I usually come with friends but this year my grandma is coming,” he said.

He said he enjoyed the lights and was excited for Christmas to come.

“I am asking Santa for a video making camera. That is the biggest present. I also want an Avengers compound battle Lego set, Star Wars Legos and a Samsung 10. That’s it,” he said.