HARKER HEIGHTS — Nearly 100 people gathered for the annual Lighting of the Christmas Tree on Wednesday night at City Hall.

The Chamber of Commerce and Heights Parks and Recreation sponsored the event. The tree is a donation from Union State Bank.

The chamber provided cookies, coffee and hot chocolate. Members of the Harker Heights High School varsity and junior varsity orchestra performed music of the season and led the crowd in singing “Jingle Bell Rock.”

At sundown, the countdown began, and with the flip of a switch, the tree burst into colors of red, yellow and green.

Gina Pence, chamber president and CEO, Mayor Rob Robinson and the leadership of Union State Bank shared comments.

Greg Schannep, a recently retired minister of a local church with 28 years service as an Army chaplain, said the lighting of the tree brought to his memory events like these in the past.

“I’ve attended tree lightings, led prayers at many of them, and it’s just the beginning. It may still be November but I’m ready for Christmas,” he said.

Seli Medina, a resident, said: “This was the first tree lighting I’ve been to in this area and it was very nice.”

Other tree-lighting ceremonies in the area also scheduled this week include:

Copperas Cove

The city of Copperas Cove invites the public to attend the 2016 Cove Tree Lighting Ceremony on tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. in the City Park, 1206 W. Avenue B. Fun activities are also planned.

Fort Hood

The annual III Corps holiday tree lighting ceremony will be held at 5:15 tonight near the flagpole in front of the III Corps and Fort Hood Headquarters.

Seasonal music will be provided by the 1st Cavalry Division Band, the Audie Murphy Middle School Choir, and the Fort Hood Family Housing Children’s Choir. Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland will address the gathering and light the Christmas tree with two families selected from the Fort Hood community.

There will be an appearance by Santa Claus with the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment. Santa will stay behind for Family photos in the III Corps Headquarters. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony. For more information, call 254-287-3087.


Killeen will mark the start of the holiday season Friday at the annual tree lighting event at Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. The public is invited to join in an evening of free festive family fun.

Santa Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. to light the 50-foot silhouette holiday tree and will pose for photos with children and listen to wish lists until 8 p.m.

Free activities will include a petting zoo, live entertainment, arts and crafts, a game truck, an art bus and much more.

A free movie in the park screening of Elf starts at 8 p.m. at the Amphitheater. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy free cookies and cocoa.

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