SAN PATRICIO COUNTY – If county residents get a little too stuffed during Thanksgiving, don’t fret, help is on the way.

Sinton

On Saturday, the Sinton Chamber of Commerce will host a popcorn stroll where visitors can grab a bag of popcorn at the chamber office, 218 W. Sinton St. in downtown Sinton, and visit their newly opened art gallery.

Downtown merchants will be open a little longer for shoppers and there will be live music throughout as well as a holiday display at the Sinton Historical Museum, 116 W. Sinton St.

The event also coincides with Shop Small Saturday and the Sinton Chamber is looking to help out its merchants with the event. 

Sinton Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant & Membership Coordinator Christie Prine breaks down the numbers and said, “We always hear shop local but what does it really mean?

“It means more than just keeping someone else in business.

“Did you know that 2% of sales tax dollars stay local and half of that (1%) goes to streets, parks, police and fire to name a few.

“Another 25% of that goes just to streets. The other 75% goes into a fund to help with projects as need is determined (0.5% to 4B, 0.25% to 4A). 

“Sales tax revenue makes up 13% of the General Fund for the city. That’s just the sales tax.

“What about jobs, property tax that goes to our schools and community?”

She added that sometimes things bought at a local store may have a higher price than the big box stores in bigger cities, but some stores offer price matching and all residents have to do is ask. And some items can be ordered if they aren’t available.

She also said that with the smaller or local stores, customers can actually talk to someone who genuinely cares about their needs and has  a vested interest in their satisfaction instead of employees just trying to get through the day

“Think about who supports the children’s sports teams, bake sales to raise funds and other community activities,” Prine continued. “The support needs to go both ways with the consumer supporting the local businesses and the local businesses support the community. Local businesses should also be supporting local businesses. 

“Shopping local should be for us all.”

After the shopping event, after years of being absent, the Sinton Chamber will bring back the tree lighting ceremony which will take place at the San Patricio County Courthouse at 6 p.m.

Visitors there can also vote on their favorite decorated merchant window display with the winner announced at the annual Christmas Parade of Lights taking place Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m.

But that’s not all Sinton has to offer for the holidays.

The Sinton Chamber will also host the Old-Fashioned Winter Wonderland Market on that Thursday from 3-10 p.m.

After the parade, kids can visit Santa Claus at Jackson Square in Historic Downtown Sinton.

The Sinton Chamber is also hosting a Block Lighting Contest beginning Dec. 2 through Dec. 23. Santa’s elves will be out and about looking for the street block filled with the best Christmas spirit.

The block with the most houses decorated in their neighborhood will receive a winner’s sign and will be featured on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Contact the City of Sinton at 364-2391 for parade information or the Sinton Chamber at 364-2307 or visit sintonchamber.org for market information.

Portland

On Monday, Dec. 2, Portland’s Christmas on the Coast will kick off with their annual Parade of Lights, sponsored by the City of Portland and the Kiwanis Club of Portland.

The parade will depart the Portland Community Center, 2000 Billy G. Webb Drive, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 361-777-4670.

A traditional tree lighting ceremony will begin at the conclusion of the parade.

Also that Monday, the outdoor ice skating rink will open at 7 p.m. and will remain open daily through Jan. 4 from Monday through Thursdays 3-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 3-10 p.m.  and Sundays 1-4 p.m. It will be $5 for unlimited skating.

If residents’ holiday plans include decorating, it would be a great time to be part of Christmas on the Coast Glow Portland holiday decorated contest.

Residents are asked to deck the halls with their favorite decorations – lights, garland, snowmen, wisemen or Jolly ‘Ol St. Nick himself – and post a photo of their decorated home or neighborhood, including the address, to the Glow Portland event page on the City of Portland’s Facebook page or send the address and photo by email to enews@portlandtx.com.

The Glow Portland winning categories are: 

• Best Holiday Lights (individual residence) 

• Most Humorous (individual residence)

• Best Block category for neighborhoods.

Homes must be decorated by Dec. 12. The Chatwork Club will judge that night, so be sure all the holiday lights are on and ready to go.

Paul Gonzales is the editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at mathisnews@mySouTex.com.