Families brave the wind and cold for Christmas celebration

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) It was a large crowd at Old Town Square Sunday night for the annual tree lighting ceremony. This was just one stop of the Christmas festivities downtown including the Lights on the River.

The cold and windy weather did not keep people from getting into the Christmas spirit. Lights on the River event staff had their doubts as the day got started.

"This was the best that we could have asked for for the weather like today. Earlier today we were very worried about the event just because we had a giant tent blow over, it was so windy," said Wichita Clean Stream member Cindy Le.

This Christmas light celebration marks the start of the holiday season for many families and they say they wouldn't miss it regardless of the weather.

Lealia Felkins said, "It does not ruin it, not at all. It's really pretty to walk and hangout. I came out here to take family pictures."

"It's cold. It was warmer earlier and now it's cold. We thought it would be something fun besides just staying in the house and playing video games," said Ricky Mendoza.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said he's pleased with the turnout for his last tree lighting ceremony in office.

"We have a better than average crowd. There's a shorter time span between Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe people are more excited about getting in the Christmas spirit, but a larger crowd than I've seen when we had great weather," said Mayor Longwell.

Mayor Longwell said it's a bitter sweet moment and he'll miss being a part of these events.