Texas Motor Speedway started the holiday season off with a “bang” Tuesday as the official lighting of "The Biggest Living Christmas Tree In Texas" and holiday-themed fireworks display celebrate Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter reaching $10 million milestone at its annual grant ceremony.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday at The Speedway Club Circle at Texas Motor Speedway.
"The Biggest Living Christmas Tree In Texas," is a Texas Motor Speedway tradition. Texas Motor Speedway has placed a giant tree at various locations in the Metroplex since the speedway opened in 1997.
This year's 66-foot tall Douglas fir tree was transported from Montana. The tree is adorned with 10,000 LED lights, oversized ornaments and topped with a 4'x4' gold star that features the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. globe in the center.
Newy Scruggs, NBC 5’s Sports Director, led the countdown to the tree lighting during the Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter Tree Lighting and Grant Ceremony.
Since 1997, Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter has made a lasting impact on children in North Texas. This year the Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter will reach a significant milestone by surpassing $10 million in grants to area children's organizations.
The funds distributed by the organization are raised through special events held throughout the year. The majority of SCC events are centered on the three major race weeks at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter will be awarding nearly $300,000 in funds during the evening, including the Founder's Grant to the Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders at The University of Texas at Dallas. Other groups scheduled to receive funds include Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, Cook Children's - Fort Worth, Camp iHope, Denton Kiwanis Children's Clinic, PediPlace and the UNT Health Science Center.
Texas Motor Speedway will be making a special presentation to the Do It For Durrett Foundation. The foundation is an organization dedicated to helping families impacted by sudden loss. It was named in honor of beloved sports reporter Richard Durrett, who died suddenly in 2014 at the age of 38. All of the members of the DIFD Board, including Texas Rangers President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels will be on hand for the presentation.
The evening of giving culminated with the distribution of 100 bikes and helmets to Fort Worth-area children representing A WARM Place (helps children cope with grief and loss of a loved one) and A Wish With Wings (grants wishes to sick children.)
The early Christmas presents are compliments of SCC board members Chalmer and Karen McWilliams, George and Linda Campbell, and Cherie and Ron Rodenburgh, who purchased and donated the bikes and helmets for the children.
All guests attending the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter grant ceremony will be eligible for a 50 percent discount voucher to go through the “Gift of Lights” holiday drive-through light display following the event. The price for a carload will be reduced from $25 to $12.50 and can only be redeemed on Tuesday evening, December 1, 2015.
The “Gift of Lights” is a two-mile drive through the speedway that features over 200 lighted displays with over two million LED lights.
A new feature this year will be the Santa’s Village, which cars will be directed to at the conclusion of their trip through the “Gift of Lights.” The 22,000 square foot village, which will be located in the Texas Motor Speedway infield, will feature the opportunity to get a picture with Santa Claus, refreshments and the chance to ride a miniature train, plus other great family activities.