Way back in January I wrote a blog post about how last year the opening ceremony for the annual Festival of Lights in Greenbelt, Maryland was moved from the back of City Hall to nearby Roosevelt Center, which resulted in higher attendance since the movie theater, restaurants, and convenience store were all located there. I was there for the opening ceremony in its new location but I didn’t bother with taking pictures, which I regretted later. I took pictures of the lights in Roosevelt Center on the last day of the festival, which was on a Sunday night (when most of the businesses tended to close early on Sundays). The entire area was pretty yet deserted when I took those photos.
The opening ceremony was such a huge hit in its new location that the City of Greenbelt decided to do it again this year in Roosevelt Center. This time I took pictures of the festivities.
The festival gave out free hot chocolate. The festival organizers encouraged people to bring their own coffee cups or hot thermoses from home instead of using the free paper cups that were also available in order to get as close to having the festival produce zero waste as possible. I brought this coffee mug that had Stitch from the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch. (It was one a gift I gave to my then-husband but it was among the many items he left behind when he walked out on me back in 2011.) It turned out that that coffee mug was a conversation starter because I had so many kids who literally focused their attention on this mug.
As you can see, this event drew a lot of people of all ages.
There were lights strung everywhere.
A local band played Christmas and Hanukkah music.
The Christmas tree remained darkened until Santa Claus arrived.
Santa Claus arrived on the back of a fire truck.
The lights on the tree were lit after Santa arrived.
The nearby Greenbelt Theater was having a free showing of the original made-for-TV cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas just like it did last year. I saw it on the big screen last year and it was such a different experience from simply watching it at home on the TV. I thought about seeing it again but the line at the movie theater was really long this year. (I later heard that every single seat in the theater was filled.) I decided to skip it. It was no big deal since I saw it on the big screen last year plus I have that show on DVD so I can watch it at home anytime I want.
Makerspace 125 decided to schedule an Open House to coincide with the Festival of Lights opening ceremony. Someone decided to decorate a ladder with lights and ornaments instead of a tree.
Makerspace 125 had this one free hands-on activity where people could make fancy paper ornaments.
One person brought her dog, Honey, who totally enjoyed herself at the open house.
Most of the festival attendees basically cleared out after the Greenbelt Theater finished with showing the Grinch. Here are a few more photographs of the lights that are currently up in Roosevelt Center.
The lights will remain up until after New Year.
UPDATE (December 25, 2016): After I attended a special Christmas Day Sunday service at my church I decided to head to the Beijing Restaurant in Roosevelt Center (where I took advantage of its special Sunday buffet). After I left the restaurant I noticed that the Christmas tree from the Festival of Lights looked very glittery. Of course it helped that it was a very bright sunny day. Here are a couple of extra daytime photos.