Thousands gather downtown for Night of Lights

The Santa and his Reineer display on the PNC Building in downtown Fort Wayne shines at Night of Lights.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Thousands of people were in downtown Fort Wayne Wednesday night for Night of Lights, kicking off the holiday season in the Fort.

“My favorite part is when Santa and his reindeer get lit up,” Ruthanne Walker said.

For most it’s a tradition spanning decades.

“In our family. Christmas tradition is very important,” Brian Faus said.

For some it’s even kind of like a family reunion.

“Everybody shows up for this every year,” Stacey VanDyke said. “We all converge here.”

For others, Wednesday night’s trip was the first of many to downtown to see Santa and his reindeer.

“This is actually the first time we’ve actually been here,” Richard Owen said. “We live out-of-town, so we brought the girls all down tonight to see the Santa Claus.”

The popular holiday event comes at a time when the world is on edge after terrorists attacks in both Beirut and Paris. Homeland Security launched a new campaign  called Ready: Whenever. Wherever., urging people to be aware of their surroundings wherever they go. It’s for emergencies big and small. And with the United States issuing a worldwide travel alert, urging people to be vigilant during holiday events. We asked people at tonight’s event if they hesitated about going.

“Not at all,” Owen said. “Nope, not at all.”

“People around here are very protective of community as opposed to just themselves. I trust my neighbor. I trust my fellow Fort Wayne native,” Faus said.

Homeland security urges people to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

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