SAU's Celebration of Lights set to shine on Nov. 30

The tree in front of Overstreet on the Southern Arkansas University campus is lit up in this photo from the 2022 Celebration of Lights. (Joshua Turner / Banner-News)

Special to the Banner-News

Southern Arkansas University is thrilled to announce the 40th Annual Celebration of Lights will take place on November 30, 2023. This milestone marks four decades of spreading holiday cheer and illuminating SAU's campus with festive lighting displays.

SAU's Celebration of Lights began in 1984 as a lighting display to enhance SAU's seventy-fifth-year celebration. It included a tree in front of Overstreet and lights strung all over campus. Over the years, the lighting displays grew larger, and in 1988, SAU strung lights along the sides of the Bell Tower, turning it into a cherished monument of the yearly celebration - SAU's holiday candle.

As part of the special anniversary celebration, the event will feature a host of cherished activities, including photos with Santa, enchanting train rides, a festive food buffet, a special presentation of the family favorite movie, "Elf," and more. The full schedule of events is as follows:

Family Christmas Movie: "Elf": Foundation Hall | 3, 5, and 7 p.m.

Personalized Snow Globes: Reynolds Center | 3-7 p.m.

Train Rides: Mall Area | 4-8 p.m.

Magnolia Christmas Parade: "Christmas in Candyland" | 5-6 p.m.

Storytime with Mrs. Claus: Magale Library | 5, 6, and 7 p.m.

RHA Overstreet Lighting: Overstreet Hall | 6-6:20 p.m.

Lighting of the Bell Tower: Mall Area | 6:25 p.m.

Photos with Santa: Reynolds Center | 6-8 p.m.

Buffet Dinner: Reynolds Center, Grand Hall | 6-8 p.m.

Activities in Reynolds Center begin at 3:00 p.m. with the first showing of "Elf" in Foundation Hall. Two other showings will take place at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The creation of personalized Christmas snow globes will begin at 3:00 p.m. and conclude at 7:00 p.m. in Reynolds 208. Photos with Santa will be taken free of charge to all families in the Reynolds Rotunda from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Train rides begin in the campus Mall Area at 4:00 p.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. Story Time with Mrs. Claus is held in Magale Library at 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 p.m. Free storybooks will be available while supplies last. The festivities continue at Overstreet Hall following the arrival of the Magnolia Christmas Parade, "Christmas in Candyland," which runs from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. The parade concludes in the Reynolds Center parking lot.

Following the parade, the Residence Hall Association will begin the Overstreet Lighting, including the lighting of the SAU Holiday Tree, along with refreshments to be served. After the parade winners are announced, all are invited to the Mall Area for the lighting of the Bell Tower.

The annual holiday buffet dinner and Christmas music will take place in Reynolds Grand Hall from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Adult tickets are $10.69, and children's tickets (ages 5-12) are $5.49. Children under the age of five eat free of charge. For more information, call 870-235-4045.

SAU hopes to see the community gather together to enjoy the festivities and spread holiday cheer!