November 27, 2004
The Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa on Friday flipped on its largest Christmas display yet.
Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker hit the switch for the 750,000 lights — the most the Christmas Temple Lights display has had in its 25 years.
"Tonight we have 750,001 lights here as the moon is out in full," Hawker said.
Organizers estimated at least 2,000 people attended Friday night’s ceremony which included Christmas songs by the Arizona Mormon Choir and speeches by Hawker and Mormon leaders.
In 25 years, the Christmas display has grown from 5,000 to three-quarters of a million lights and has become part of Mesa’s holiday tradition. It has always opened the day after Thanksgiving.
"It’s a great event for families because you can spend as much or as little time as you want here," said Camille Taylor, spokeswoman.
During the holiday season, Taylor said the Temple lights will attract as many as 1 million visitors.
"It’s a place people can come and just get away from the stress and hassle of the holidays and find peace," she said.
Before turning on the lights, Hawker plugged the future Mesa Arts Center and talked about Mesa’s diverse religious history.
"A lot of people who wrote the charter of the city were of this faith," Hawker said.
Gail Barney, a Queen Creek town councilman, walked through the lighted trees with his daughter and three grandchildren in tow.
"It’s almost like the Fourth of July for them," he said, pointing at the grandchildren, "only not as noisy."
The Temple Lights, at 525 E. Main Street, will go on from 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31 with various half-hour concerts and performances at 7 p.m.
Today: Flutasia — Flute Quartet Sunday: Fountain Hills Community Chorus Monday: Mesa High School A Cappella Choir Tuesday: Mesa Harp Ensemble Wednesday: Mesquite High School Concert Choir Thursday: Ahwatukee Foothills Concert Choir Friday: Grace United Methodist Church Chancel Choir and Canterbury Bells Dec. 4: Tucson Girls Chorus — Sonoran Singers Dec. 5: Chandler-Gilbert Community College Singers Dec. 6: Westwood High School Honor Choir Dec. 7: Tempe LDS Institute A Cappella Choir Dec. 8: Fiesta Chorus — Sweet Adelines Dec. 9: Scottsdale Master Chorale Dec. 10: Poston Junior High School Teen Tones Dec. 11: Taylor Junior High School Teen Tones
Complete list available at www.christmastemplelights.com