by Elizabeth Ruiz
A 55-foot- Christmas tree adorned with tiny red lights and large ornaments is surrounded by trees decorated with white lights at Travis Park.
Thousands crowded the downtown park across from the St. Anthony Hotel Friday night for a tree-lighting ceremony featuring the Texas Children’s Choir and Mariachi Las Alteñas.
The festivities included activities for the kids, an ice sculpture display, and an inflatable slide and bouncy house.
“I personally have never been to a tree-lighting ceremony in my entire life,” former Spurs star Matt Bonner told the crowd. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” he added.
The Spurs TV Analyst said the 55 foot tree donated by HEB would “put the Griswolds to shame.” (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)
Bonner also joked that he was invited to help host the event because the tree was decorated with red lights and he has red hair, thus his nickname, the “Red Rocket.”
“Thanks for not introducing me as the gingerbread man,” he told the announcer.
Bonner helped Mayor Ron Nirenberg introduce Santa Claus who climbed up a San Antonio fire truck ladder and hovered over the stage. They all led the countdown to the lighting of this year’s tree.
Meanwhile, several people showed up at Alamo Plaza, not knowing that the ceremony had been moved to Travis Park.
“The government has taken away our tree, said Sandy Estrada.
HEB is donating an 18-foot Christmas tree at Alamo Plaza, but in the meantime, people are placing tiny trees there to let city officials know they’re not happy the ceremony was moved to Travis Park.
“It’s the little things that make a difference, ” said Steve Monreal, who started the tiny tree protest.