BEULAVILLE, NC --
Since Thanksgiving is over, die-hard Christmas enthusiasts have begun the journey of finding those tangled lights and decorations to make their home the best-lit house in the neighborhood.
Families aboard the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune housing area who wanted to see true Christmas art were given the opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind Christmas light display, containing a one-mile trail of nearly 500,000 lights, and a delicious meal during the Holiday Lights Hayride and dinner at Mike’s Farm,Sunday.
Through reservations made by the Midway Park and Tarawa Terrace community centers aboard the MCB Camp Lejeune housing area, participants were able to forego lines and focus on spending time together as a family.
“It’s a good opportunity for military families to have access to local stuff that normally you might not be able to experience,” said Gunnery Sgt. Marben Aquino, a career planner with 2nd Marine Division.
Through events like this, people are able to get together, and they do not have to make plans and organize it all, said Victoria Braggiotti, the recreation specialist with the Midway Park Community Center.
“We’re excited,” said Ester Sanchez. Her family had recently returned to MCB Camp Lejeune after spending many years away. “It was the one thing we wanted to do now that we’re back in town. Our boys don’t remember it, so I’m excited that they get to see it now that they’re older.”
The event included a journey through tunnels of lights with intricate displays and holiday music.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Master Sgt. Ramon Sanchez, a tank leader with 2nd Marine Division. “(Especially seeing) how much time was put into the trail.”
Jennie Aquino was excited about the dinner, an all-you-can eat country meal that included dessert.
“It’s delicious,” she said.
Her family chose to take part in the event because there were reservations in place, since she had come to Mike’s Farm before and experienced long lines and wait times.
Ester felt the same way.
“(The community centers providing the opportunity) is the reason we came out today,” said Ester. “I knew there would be a lot of people, but not as many as on the days when it isn’t reserved.”
Throughout the light show, there were segments devoted to the military, with live actors and golden ribbons along with patriotic music.
“You don’t see it every day but it’s good to know that the community supports what we do,” said Ramon.
Ester was able to share the experience with a family that had never been able to experience the light show together due to deployments.
“It was so special to be able to share that with them,” said Ester.
The event is in its third year and is expected to continue into the future.
Events such as this provide a sense of camaraderie within the community.
“It’s good to have the opportunity for the military community to come together as a family,” concluded Ester.