ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud community enjoyed  a favorite town festival Thursday night.

Hundreds came out to the St. Cloud Hospital to enjoy the 28th annual Festival of Lights.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON

Besides the hospital being completely decked out in Christmas lights, the event featured horse drawn trolley rides, reindeer, a living nativity, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookies, hot chocolate and holiday carols performed by the St. Cloud Technical High School Chamber Choir.

Tech High School Choir (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)


Communications specialist with CentraCare Health, Chris Nelson says the event started as a way to give back to the community the hospital serves.

"It was the hospital's gift to the community, this is the community's hospital and so we wanted to have this event for them to come, see the facility and join us to welcome in the holidays."

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON

Over 55,000 lights are lit up for the festival. This is Nelson's 8th year organizing the event, she says the festival has stuck with its core activities over the years.

"It hasn't changed a lot, we have more trolleys here for people because the event has grown so the crowds have grown."

Every year hospital staff pick a child from the crowd to pull the lever that controls the lights, this year 5-year-old Cheyanna was chosen.

Many attendees donated food items, all donations will be going to area food shelves.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON