Lewis. Image: Drew Dempsey

For the man who says he “thrives on excitement” where he’s “running on all cylinders,” David Lewis has reached nirvana.

Lewis is not only the chair of the city’s Bicentennial celebration that kicked off this week (more on that in a moment) but, he’s spearheading the city’s first-ever, supercharged collaborative holiday event.

It’s been dubbed “Capital City Lights,” and it’s Friday in Downtown Jackson, bringing 30 plus partners and, hopefully, the community together.

“It’s been a hard year… longer… for us all,” Lewis, the City of Jackson’s Deputy Director of Human and Cultural Services, said. “I see this event sowing a seed of hope and bringing people around. As the capital city, we have an opportunity to share that message.”

For years, Lewis said he watched organizations and entities in the city work to create holiday magic. But their events didn’t coordinate with each other.

“We’ve always wanted to figure out how to work together on a lot of things. And with Christmas, people love decorations, lights, events and shopping. The best way to foster that is to work together and do something huge and go all out.”

After all, for Lewis, a Disney fanatic and self-professed “fan of spectacle,” Christmas “is about going all out.”

To that end, Lewis is a gracious host, welcoming more players to an “ever-growing table.” 

“It’s a good challenge,” he said. “It pushes us to make sure we incorporate everyone we can. And, being so beta, we have that space to make mistakes.  Because we know it will grow. It will get better.”

His other project, the Bicentennial, is a several-years-in-the-making study in other statewide celebrations. 

“I watched Vicksburg and Natchez being featured in national media,” Lewis said and wondered, ‘How do we get to that?’ When the state celebrated its bicentennial four years ago, I asked, ‘Are we talking about what this looks like for Jackson?’ It’s been four years of thinking and dreaming, focusing not on want I want it to be, but how does it become driven by what Jackson wants it to be?”

As a city proclaimed by its Mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, as “radical,” here, Lewis said, that looks like inclusivity and thinking outside the box. He noted, “We have 13 months to figure it out so people can buy in.”

As the first official event in the city’s 200-year celebration, Lewis said Capital City Lights is a chance to reenergize Jackson.

“I think the city needs that energy. I saw it at (Broadway in Jackson’s) Anastasia last month at Thalia Mara Hall. People were so happy to be there and to be with others. So thrilled. It’s the same feeling we hope to have with Capital City Lights Friday.”

WATCH Lewis on My City TV