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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

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Holiday festivities in December


By Megan Whitworth

It's that time of year where jingle bells can be heard, tales of Santa Claus are being shared, and when the city streets light up with red and green lights – it's Christmastime. Saturday night kicked off holiday festivities in San Jacinto County with the annual town lighting in Coldspring. The Courthouse square lit up with red and green lights. The city streets sparkled with white lights. This upcoming weekend festivities kick off even more holiday fun with Christmas held in Gazebo Park in Shepherd starting at noon on Saturday. Vendors and entertainment will be located in the park, which is next to the Shepherd City Public Library. Santa Claus will be in the gazebo that afternoon; the annual Christmas parade starts at 6 p.m. "The route will start by the Gazebo on Liberty St., go to Hwy 150 and turn left towards the traffic lights. Then it will turn right and move along Loop 424 till it reaches the school," said Yvonne Ryba, who serves on both Coldspring and Shepherd Chambers of Commerce. "Shepherd High School Band will perform a concert at the high school afterward. Canned goods are requested as an entry fee, which is then donated to Helping Hands Pantry. The event starts at noon and closes with the parade." The following weekend on Saturday, Dec. 9, annual festivities will be held in Coldspring to bring holiday cheer to families and friends with a day full of fun, shopping and entertainment. Vendors will surround the Courthouse and Santa will also sit in the gazebo, near the Courthouse, to welcome everyone, Ryba said. T-shirts will be sold at a hospitality center; hot chocolate and cookies will be offered to visitors. The holiday parade will also be held that evening. The parade will begin in the Jones Educational Complex parking lot and will wind its way through town to the Fairgrounds. This year's theme for both parades is "Christmas Stories," Ryba said. Both parades will offer prizes to the best floats. Ryba also added Shepherd will have a children's choir, and DJ Joe LaBlanc will play music during the day on Saturday. Coldspring has also grown "with many vendors and a larger parade," she said. Ryba also added that both chambers plan the annual events with "lots of meeting and preparations." "We spend a lot of time in Coldspring deciding what color the TShirts should be, and in Shepherd it is in decorating the Gazebo Park," she said. "Organizing the entertainment is a big job. It is truly a time for team work. We start many months before the event, and pray the weather will be good for the day." Buying Christmas gifts from vendors and eating the food in the square are Ryba's favorite things about the holiday festivities. "I love the parades, too. It is fun to see how people create the most imaginative decorations on their floats and vehicles," she said. "I have lived in many different parts of the United States over the last 35 years. Christmas is celebrated in different ways - from the glitzy decorations in Los Angeles to the artistic atmosphere of Santa Fe New Mexico," Ryba added. "Shepherd and Coldspring have a charm of the small family town. People know each other. When the parade goes by everyone recognizes who is who. The family feeling is wonderful and I love it." Here is a list of a few more festivities to fill your holiday calendar with: Birthday Party Join community members for a special Christmas celebration at Victory Camp Colmesneil on Dec. 9 from 1-4 p.m. Sing Christmas carols with Frosty & Rudolph, plus enjoy birthday cupcakes, watch a live nativity in the stable, ride the Victory Express train, archery, do a Christmas craft, go horseback riding, go fishing and find a Christmas gift at the Berry Hut Gift Shop. Church and family groups welcomed. Mail in, email or call to reserve a space at this year's celebration. The phone number is 409-897-9990 or email officials at grcm@windstream.net. Victory Camp is located at 2472 FM 1745 N., Colmesneil. Angels on Assignment The 11th annual Angels on Assignment Christmas Celebration and Fundraising event will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Shepherd Community Center. It's a free family event with live music, make and take crafts, great food, door prizes, Santa Claus and more. For more information, call 678-447-4033. Christmas Ranch Until New Years, the Christmas Ranch in Cleveland will be open Sunday through Thursday 6 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. In 2016 there was 296, 235 lights and over 10,000 cars visited the long-time running holiday festivity. Visit christmasranch.com for more information.


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