One Way to Fill Downtown Dallas: Dress Up Main Street, and the Park, With Lots of Lights

It most certainly did not feel like Christmas: Seventy-four degrees and 85-percent humidity is no way to spend the Saturday night before Thanksgiving. It certainly sounded like Christmas: Main Street Garden was surround-sounded by KVIL-approved Christmas hits, turned up to 11, not for the easily humbugged. But at the City Lights 2011 kick-off, downtown Dallas last night looked like Christmas -- from the Municipal Building down Main Street, a few blocks past Neimans, the shut-off street blindingly bright.

It was packed too, especially a chaotic Main Street Garden, filled with sponsor vehicles done up as reindeer and that metal Christmas tree (which is so Dallas) and tented vendors peddling oddball items for early holiday shoppers; "scented crystals," anyone? Further down the so-called "promenade of lights," a line wrapped around Neimans as kids 4 and up, and at least this tall, climbed in and through the holiday-window tunnels for a third year. Vendors pushed carts loaded packed with holiday hats and light-up whatnots; Santa posed for pictures on a stage overlooking the park; Star Wars storm troopers mingled with Nutcracker soldiers. (We arrived after Santa zip-lined his way into the festivities; again, so Dallas.)

Having spent the last four nights in downtown, at all hours, this was a marked improvement; on Saturday night, two blocks of downtown looked like Manhattan. But, of course, it was only an approximation. Neimans was open; so too Dirt and Wild Salsa and the Dallas Chop House and other places where you could eat and drink. But ... then what? Browse the aisles of the CVS? I took some photos; they follow after the jump. Lights are up through New Year's. Then what?

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