The 19th annual Nature in Lights at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area opened Friday, and remains open to the public through Jan. 3.

Before the Nature in Lights program opened to the public, the Fort Hood Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing Department hosted a reception for display sponsors, including the leadership of III Corps and Fort Hood.

At Thursday’s VIP reception, Maj. Gen. John Uberti, deputy commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, thanked the area sponsors for supporting the Nature in Lights program, and the MWR staff who builds and maintains the display.

“On average we get about 50 thousand people through this display each year,” Uberti said. “It’s become part of Central Texas holiday history.”

Adam Garber, pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Nolanville, recently moved from El Paso, and sees involvement with Nature in Lights and other programs as way to reach out to others in the surrounding community.

“We’re trying to help our community, not only to help Fort Hood, but the entire Kileen area,” Garber said.

After the reception, guests were invited to a preview drive through the five-and-a-half-mile Nature in Lights Christmas trail.

This is the second year that all of the displays are using LED bulbs.

Lisa Bass, BLORA outdoor program recreation manager, said the use of the LED lights over the traditional glass bulbs not only saved money from lower electrical expenditure, but also saved money with fewer bulbs replaced due to breakage in storage and use.

Visitation details

Cars, minivans and pickup trucks cost $8; 15-passenger vans, limos and RVs cost $20; 24-passenger vans cost $35; and 47-passenger vans and large buses cost $60.

Motorcyclists can enjoy the light display on their bikes at 6 p.m. Jan. 4, for $3 per motorcycle. Riders should enter through the main Cottage Road entrance.

Santa’s Village, located in the Live Oak Pavilion, is open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, from Nov. 19 to Dec. 13, and every night from Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve. Santa’s Village includes the Cowboy Cafe, homemade cookies and hot chocolate, seasonal crafts and photos with Santa.

For additional light displays not seen from vehicles, attendees can ride on the tram at Santa’s Depot, for $5 for adults and $3 for children 11 years old and younger. The tram is in the parking lot of the marina cove.

For more information, and details on other special BLORA Holiday in Lights events, call 254-287-2523 or visit hoodmwr.com for details.

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