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Carriage of Christmas
by Jason Collins
Dec 19, 2013 | 21 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown was one of the more popular events at this year’s Holly Jolly Christmas.
A horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown was one of the more popular events at this year’s Holly Jolly Christmas.
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Santa offers a hearty “ho, ho, ho” to a young fan during the Holly Jolly Christmas celebration Saturday.
Santa offers a hearty “ho, ho, ho” to a young fan during the Holly Jolly Christmas celebration Saturday.
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Rides on horse-drawn carriages attracted a long line down the street by the Wicker Basket. About 4,000 were estimated to be at the Holly Jolly Christmas celebration downtown enjoying a variety of games, shopping at assorted vendors and giving their wish lists to Santa Claus despite the cold wind.
Rides on horse-drawn carriages attracted a long line down the street by the Wicker Basket. About 4,000 were estimated to be at the Holly Jolly Christmas celebration downtown enjoying a variety of games, shopping at assorted vendors and giving their wish lists to Santa Claus despite the cold wind.
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BEEVILLE – Some wished for the stars as they sat on Santa’s lap delivering their Christmas lists.

Others reached for the sky as they struggled their way up the towering mock rock wall Saturday at the Holly Jolly Christmas celebration.

Michelle Wright, Main Street manager, estimated that between 3,500 and 4,000 people made their way to downtown to join in the fun that afternoon and evening.

“I am thinking I am being modest on the number,” she said.

Attendance was down slightly from last year, but the weather likely played a part in some people not wanting to venture outdoors.

“When I walked out of the house at noon it was fine, but in two hours the wind picked up, and it was awful chilly out there,” she said.

The smiles on the faces were clear indicators of the event’s success for those who did brave the weather.

“The families all had a great time,” Wright said. “Our vendors did real well, I think.

“As I walked through, wishing the vendors a Merry Christmas, they all said, ‘We will see you next year.’”

The parade also saw fewer floats this year.

“I think it was because of the weather we had the last few weeks,” she said. “I don’t think people could get out and work on their floats like they normally would.”

Winner of the best overall float went to La Amistad, and best float honors went to the Freer Fourth of July Royalty float.

Wright offered a heartfelt thanks to Lanny Holland, who was also named the parade marshal this year.

“Lanny Holland and his family have been doing the parade for me for the last six years,” she said.

“He gets everybody ready for the parade. He officially starts the parade.

“He coordinates with the judges. It is a lot of work.

“I am so thankful he and his family do it. There is no way I could do both the event and the parade.”

Being parade marshal meant Holland had one more duty.

“I told him it was time you ride in one,” Wright said.

Holland isn’t the only person who works behind the scenes to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

The Lions Club volunteers were out selling tickets and making sure everything ran smoothly.

“It was great because it took a load off me,” Wright said. “I didn’t have to worry about things being stationed and manned.”

There are numerous others who help, including the city’s street department and countless business volunteers.

Wright said that a portion of the money brought in by the event will go to help improve the quality of life for Beeville residents.

Unlike other cities, where events like this are designed to raise money, Wright said this is strictly for the enjoyment of the residents.

“I don’t even try to break even,” she said. “When I started, I did it for free every year.

“When we first started this, I talked to the city council and the city manager, and all of us wanted to do something to give back to the community.”

Expansion of the activities meant they had to charge something, but they try to keep it minimal.

Money raised goes not only to downtown improvements but to other city projects.

“I try to give in areas that will improve the quality of life,” she said.

One of those areas was the McClanahan House, where they steered people to see the Christmas Tree Forest on display.

Thanks to so many generous visitors, the Bee County Historical Society was able to raise four times the amount of food this year over last year for the Beeville Vineyard.

Next year, Wright said she plans a few more changes, including bringing in an ice skating rink to the downtown celebration.

“I just have to figure out where I am going to position the ice skating rink,” she said.

“I have wanted to bring in an ice skating rink for the last few years.

“I think it will be fun for the kids.”

With the inclusion of a skating rink, Wright said she plans to expand from one to three days.

“It will need to be a three-day event to get all the kids on and through it who would want to do it,” she said. “It would almost have to be a three-day event for the kids to do it and enjoy it.”

Overall, Wright is pleased with this weekend’s activities.

“This is the third year we (Main Street and City of Beeville) have done this. All and all, I think we do really well with what we bring in,” she said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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