UPDATE: 12/06/18 at 5:07 p.m.:
The weather is forcing the cancellation of Saturday’s Christmas Town parade.
Santa will be at the Railcar Stage next Saturday, December 15, at 5 pm, before the showing of the movie “The Polar Express,” the first of Movie Night at the Railcar.
Photos taken with “Santa & The Kids,” and it’s all free.
It’s that time of the year again — the time to celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends, time to listen to bells jingling and carolers singing, and feel that tingling when Christmas tree lights are turned on for the first time.
A group from both city departments and volunteer organizations have been meeting and throwing around ideas to make the Christmas season 2018 the best one this town has ever experienced. Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, and Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful have met time and again, and, although they haven’t thrown any ideas in the junk heap, they narrowed this year’s activities down to the first three Saturdays of December. Churches and the schools have joined in with their special programs. And the city’s retail stores are filled with all sorts of merchandise that could count as Christmas gifts or decorations, and which could help start new family traditions. Many of those will be open on those nights when special activities will be going on. Altogether, it promises to be one joyous season
The first Christmas Town event was the Christmas Tree Lighting festivities at Dorothy Fielder (gazebo) Park in downtown. Involved this year were Matt Nix, the youth minister at a church just a little south of Van Alstyne bringing songs and the birth of Christ story for the younger set, Abby Parker with a special song for everyone, dancers from Fierce Motions in Dance. Get there a little bit early and enjoy some hot chocolate, provided by 100% Construction, and best of all — good old-fashioned Christmas spirit and fellowship.
The tall Christmas Tree which graced Dorothy Fielder Park for many years had to be removed, as it was no longer healthily-alive and could have created a fire hazard. The Community Development Corp purchased a new tree, completely made of lights, and the city’s Public Works Department installed it in the same location near the gazebo. Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful decorated the downtown park. The city has already hung “Christmas Town” light-pole banners in the downtown area.
Dec. 8 will be the Christmas parade, with ‘Christmas Town’ as its theme. Line-up will be at the Van Alstyne Middle School at 1 p.m., with step-off at 2 p.m. The parade will go southward on Waco Street, twist and turn until it ends up on Main Street and crossing past the gazebo at Dorothy Fielder Park. Prizes will be given in three categories, including “Best Use of Theme.”
The Van Alstyne is Christmas Town Facebook page hosts event invite people can share with those they know will be interested. So, the Christmas Town committee encourages everyone to consider whether they want to enter a float, a walking group, live music, cars… whatever is the pleasure… except for Santa. Only one Santa in the parade — after all, there is only one Santa — and he’ll be riding toward the parade’s end.
To sign up as a parade entry, go Online to VanAlstyneChamber.org, click on Events, and use the ‘2018 Parade Entry Form and Waiver’ to sign up.
Then, everyone gathers at the Gazebo for ‘Santa and The Kids’ photos that’ll begin just as soon as Santa and Mrs. Claus can get there and get settled in to greet the kids. Those photos will be made available for downloading and printing within a week after the parade, and each parent will be given a card with instructions on how to download the keepsake photos.
On Dec. 15, the Christmas Town committee will be hosting the Christmas classic move “Polar Express” at the Railcar Stage. Free, of course, lawn chairs a definite advantage. Texas Haircut Co. is taking its popcorn machine to the park, and there will be hot chocolate and maybe water available, too. Oh, and gifts to every child there in his extra-warm Christmas pajamas, but only if they are good protection against the cold. Watch the Van Alstyne Christmas Town Facebook for more details here. Again, there is a Facebook event invite with details and available to invite friends, on that same Facebook page.
The Van Alstyne ISD bands are hosting several concerts during the Christmas season. The first happened last week.
Here are a list of the Christmas Town event dates still to come, as provided so far to the committee. These and all future additions will be posted on the Van Alstyne Is Christmas Town Facebook page. (No commercial sales, please.) Additions can be sent via Email to VACDC@gcecisp.com.
Christmas Town future dates 2018
Thursday, Dec. 6 — 6 p.m., WEE School Christmas Program, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Saturday, Dec. 8 — 2 p.m., Christmas Town parade and ‘Santa and the Kids’, downtown and gazebo
Saturday, Dec. 8 — 6 p.m., “Love Has Come: A Whiting Christmas Concert, Elmont Baptist Church, West FM 121, Van Alstyne
Sunday, Dec. 9 — 6 pm, Children’s Christmas Play “Arrest These Merry Gentlemen, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Thursday, Dec. 13 — 7:30 pm, VA school bands, 6th-12-grade VA, Christmas concert, at Van Alstyne High School.
Saturday, Dec. 15 —6 p.m., Christmas movie, “Polar Express,” free, outdoor at Railcar Stage
Sunday, Dec. 16 — 7 pm, Chancel Choir Christmas Cantata, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Monday, Dec. 24 — 5 pm, 7 pm & 11 pm, 5 pm is children’s candlelight service; traditional candlelight services and Holy Communion at 7 pm and 11 pm.
And the Christmas Town committee —representatives from so many groups around town — is already working on ideas for 2019, hoping to create even more Christmas traditions and memories.