Carson City’s Capitol shines bright with Festival of Lights

One of the several decorated trees is lit up on the State Capitol grounds Friday evening in Carson City.

One of the several decorated trees is lit up on the State Capitol grounds Friday evening in Carson City.

From tots and the tottering to some bearded guy all in red and white, folks enjoyed holiday hoopla at Carson City’s Silver and Snowflakes Festival of Lights Friday evening.

The white bearded dude came in an old fire truck that backed onto the Capitol grounds. He was deposited to greet kids of all ages and someone called him Santa, probably because he resembled Mr. Claus. The second kid to meet the jolly old elf himself was asked whether he’d been good. Jaden McDonald, age 5, nodded gravely as he shook hands with the bespectacled Santa man.

If the young McDonald didn’t tell you then, Santa, be advised Jaden would like a tiny dirt bike when the big day arrives. Myles McDonald, age 6, stood right next to his brother on the rope line. But before Santa’s image loomed, Myles said his wish list was still in the formative stages. “I don’t know yet,” he said when asked what he’d like on Dec. 25.

The youngsters, there with Linda Lang, their grandmother, were ensconced in the best spot on the jammed grounds when the fire truck pulled up despite being hemmed in by hundreds of residents bundled up for the cool weather. People, old and young alike, were wedged together almost cheek-by-jowell to hear Christmas carols from youthful choirs, greet and cheer Santa, and see the lighting display turned on just before 6 p.m.

The place was packed as people spilled out onto a closed Carson Street to view the spectacle.

Not far from the McDonald brothers were a couple of other youngsters with wish lists, bright eyes, and mothers in tow. Talon Coulter, who turned 8 Friday, was celebrating his birthday with his first trip to the lighting festival.

“I like the trees and how the kids sing,” he said.

“That’s why he wanted to come — all the singing and the lights,” said his mother, Kendra Coulter.

Knowing his birthday wasn’t his only opportunity for presents this month, Talon shared his hope for a Zoomer Dino, which he said lights up and turns blue. Right next to the Coulters were Spencer Dale, 6, and his mom, Ashley Dale. Spencer’s brother Julian, 10, was among the singers not far away on the Capitol steps. Before the singing, Spencer also shared his gift hopes: a pogo stick and a scooter would do the trick.

Before the lights brought joy and even a few gasps, the crowd heard not only singing but brief remarks from Mayor Robert Crowell and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki. Crowell read a proclamation honoring Fred and Maxine Nietz, who spearhead the lighting event each year.

The lieutenant governor called the mayor smart and dedicated, then went on to say he was enjoying his final lighting festival as an elected official after more than two decades in state government. He had the singers do a rendition of Happy Birthday for his spouse, Kelly, then grinned while telling the media she turned 21. He also plugged with pride his recent project for the state.

“It has been an incredible year,” he said, reminding the crowd this was the Nevada Sesquicentennial, which was celebrated with 500 events and the big Nevada 150 day little more than a month ago.


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