V isitors came out in droves Nov. 18 for the first Celebration of Lights in two years.

The thousands of people who lined Second Street, waiting for the countdown to turn on Christmas lights in downtown Hastings, were treated to temperate weather. Temperatures were in the 40s with no wind.

“We lucked out with the weather,” said Tammy Orthmann, director of the Hastings Downtown Center Association. “It’s been windy, it’s been cold. Mother Nature gave us a break tonight. The crowds are wonderful. You worry since we weren’t able to do it last year that we wouldn’t have the crowds we usually do, but I really feel like we have a good crowd of people from all over. It’s not just Hastings. It’s surrounding communities. I know people are here from Grand Island and Kearney. They just want to come down for the special events. You can do a lot, and it’s free.”

Shaun and Lindsey Robinson of Hastings visited Celebration of Lights with their daughters: Marley, 8; Quinn, 6, and Dylann, 4.

“It’s a chance to bring the kids out and do something fun with them for the night,” Lindsey said.

The family began their night with kettle corn and candy, before getting balloon animals with the plan to see Santa, as well as Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.”

“They all love lights,” Shaun said. “Their grandparents decorate their house, and I decorate our house. We just wanted to come out and show them what the city does.”

Sisters Djinna and Brianna Kendall of Hastings were among Celebration of Lights attendees who visited Elsa and Anna at The Lark.

Members of the Adams Central National Art Honor Society also were doing face painting there.

“I really like watching “Frozen,” and I really like (Elsa and Anna),” 10-year-old Djinna said.

“In line they seemed really fun,” 8-year-old Brianna said.

Djinna also sang Christmas songs on the Second Street stage with the Longfellow Ambassadors.

The family also took a carriage ride downtown.

“It’s just fun getting out of the house…” the girls’ mother, Megan, said.

“And doing some stuff,” Djinna added.

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