Tree Lighting, River Parade kick off holiday season

Thousands pack downtown for Christmas events

Author: Stephanie Serna, Reporter, sserna@ksat.com
Published On: Nov 25 2011 11:00:56 PM CST   Updated On: Sep 18 2012 12:12:51 PM CDT
City Christmas Tree
SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio has officially kicked off the holiday season.
On Friday, hundreds gathered at the 27th annual H-E-B Tree Lighting Celebration at Alamo Plaza
The celebration started Friday afternoon with music and activities for the kids and then, the lighting of the 55-foot Christmas tree.
The tree, which is a gift from H-E-B to the city, is covered with more than 10,000 LED environmentally friendly lights.
And this year, the tree has over 300 new ornaments designed by students in San Antonio, all of which depict the theme of education and Texas.
"This year's theme we tried to change it up completely and do new ornaments," said Kimberly Harle with HEB. "We reached out to schools and nonprofits in the area to submit designs and we picked quite a few to put on the tree."
"It's very unique, said Priscilla DeLuna, a San Antonio Resident. "It's very Texas. I think it's very cool."
Following the tree lighting, thousands packed the River Walk for the annual Ford Holiday River Parade.
"This the first time we came to the river parade," said Fred Lopez, who drove in from Rio Grande City. "Right now, we just saw the lights go out and it's beautiful."
The River Parade featured dozens of floats, lots of lights and plenty of music.
This year's Grand Marshal was Patricia Jimenez, the daughter of Raul Jimenez, known for the Jimenez Dinner in San Antonio that place on Thanksgiving every year.
Organizers told KSAT they expected more than 120,000 at this year's river parade.