ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Hospital got the holiday season off to a bright start on Thursday with the 27th annual Festival of Lights.

The community enjoyed a chilly, but calm night outside the hospital with horse-drawn trolley rides, hot cocoa, and Christmas carols sung by the Tech High School Choir.

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON

"This is a way we can give back to the community that supports us," says hospital president Craig Broman. "[It's] just a fun evening to enjoy the holiday season and wish everybody a merry Christmas."

To flip the switch on the over 55,000 lights outlining the building, Broman got help from a special volunteer.

"We picked her out of the crowd -- a young lady who recently had a heart transplant," Broman says. "It made it even more meaningful, to be able to give her that opportunity."

"I think we made a good choice this year because we certainly made her Christmas a little brighter."


Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON