As the festive holiday season begins, The Woodlands is set to celebrate and honor cultural diversity within the community this month at the 37th annual Lighting of the Doves Festival.

The event takes place Nov. 23 at Town Green Park on 2099 Lake Robbins drive from 3 to 9 p.m. and is one of the longest standing traditions in the history of The Woodlands.

The idea for the festival was initially inspired from a former CEO of The Woodlands Corp. — now the Howard Hughes Corp. — who saw giant lighted doves in China and wanted to bring that to The Woodlands. It became a tradition in the area around the 1980s and has been ever since for 37 years now.

“The Howard Hughes Corp. is honored to be a sponsor of the Lighting of the Doves Festival since its inception. The Lighting of the Doves in The Woodlands represents the peacefulness of the community and kicks off the holiday season for all to enjoy,” said Lorrie Parise, manager of community relations at The Howard Hughes Corp.

Symbolizing peace during the holidays the area has scattered lighted doves on street poles that are up throughout the holiday season.

“The doves represent a symbol of hope and peace for our community,” said Nick Wolda, director of community relations at The Woodlands Township. “The dove have taken different shapes over the years as the theme of fall.”

There is big concentration of the figurines in Town Green Park and major intersections such as Woodlands Parkway, Kuykendahl, and other areas throughout The Woodlands, Wolda said.

The festival features international performances that will showcase cultural diversity and holiday traditions that are celebrated around the world.

“It’s a major event that will bring, on a good weather night, 8-10,000 people down to the waterway and town green park,” Wolda said.

They will have vendor booths, activities for children, snow play areas and a special appearance from Santa. Yes you heard right, he’ll be there.

Santa will be arriving on a sleigh boat right down The Woodlands Waterway and greets the crowd from the main stage. His helpers will assist in flipping the switch on to light the doves.

Not to get mixed up with paper lanterns, the doves are big metal-wired models that are illuminated.

Following the ceremonial illumination are short fireworks and the rest of the doves within the community with be lighted as well and remain throughout the holiday season.

“It’s the official kick-off to the holidays in The Woodlands,” Wolda said.

Admission is free for everyone.

laraib.hashmi@chron.com

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Woodlands-to-celebrate-peace-and-hope-at-37th-14818096.php