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Harris County Precinct 2 and Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia's office celebrated the seventh annual Lynchburg Ferry Christmas lighting ceremony Nov. 30. They were joined by hundreds of east Harris County residents who braved the cold and damp weather to watch one of the state's historic landmarks welcome the Christmas season.

Garcia says the lighting ceremony has held a special place in her heart from the moment she first flipped the switch in 2003.

“This event is the kick-off to the holiday season and is geared toward getting the people of east Harris County into the Christmas spirit,” Garcia said. “All of Houston has their own Christmas traditions. I thought it was time this town had its own.”

Santa Claus, accompanied by Mrs. Claus and Garcia, greeted the crowd, then made their way to a breaker box to throw the switch, lighting up the docked ferry.

Bardia Talubi, Memorial High School band member, says he hopes this tradition will last a very long time so future generations can celebrate not only the lights, but also the history.

“This is a great thing for Baytown and other areas,” Talubi says. “Traditions like this should be kept around for kids and parents to gather and enjoy as a family.”

Providing Christmas music was the Memorial band, and the Sam Houston Elementary School choir from Galena Park ISD. Guests were served hot chocolate and holiday treats.

Dr. Charles Grant, current Rotary District 5890 assistant governor, says what Garcia and her staff have done with the lighting ceremony has truly brought a greater appreciation for the east side of the county.

“This event just gets better and better every year,” Grant says, “Commissioner Garcia and her dedicated staff really put their hearts and souls into the events, ensuring guest leave with a better understanding what our Texas heroes fought so hard to defend.”

In 1822, Nathaniel Lynch established the Lynchburg Ferry Service, known at the time as Lynch’s Ferry.

In 1836, the service played a vital role in Texas’ fight for independence, when soldiers wounded in battle were taken by the ferry to the town of Lynchburg, where they received medical attention.

Known as the "Birthplace of Texas," the area is also the site of the San Jacinto Monument and Battleship TEXAS.