Christmas in the Park tradition returns at Central Park

By Ana Romero, Recreation Manager

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park.

College Station’s beautiful Christmas in the Park displays began in 1984 when a local family funded a couple of light panels. The displays have since grown to more than one million lights and are a holiday mainstay.

Our crews work year-round preparing the light panels to ensure they shine brightly when the season arrives. The hundreds of illuminated panels — a bulb for every inch — are taped precisely to preserve the panel’s mesmerizing effects. Cemetery Sexton Ron Schaefer — known around our offices as Father Christmas — manages workers from all park districts to create Christmas magic.

Here are two ways you can enjoy the time-honored tradition of holiday lights at Beachy Central Park:

LIGHTS ON Ι Nov. 26-Jan. 1, 6-11 p.m.

As you stroll or drive-thru through the park, you can do more than look — you can listen, too! Tune in to channel KAGC 97.3 FM as you drive to enjoy Christmas music provided by Bryan Broadcasting and Christmas 97.3 FM. 

Don’t forget to bring your wish list for Santa. Our staff made arrangements with his elves to accept letters for Santa in our North Pole Mailbox located outside of the Central Park Office. Drop your letter off from Nov. 26-Dec. 24 to ensure safe delivery. 

DRIVE-THRU EVENT Ι Dec. 4-5, 6-10 p.m.

Drive-thru the park and enjoy the lights, wave to Santa, drop off a wish list in the North Pole mailbox, grab a goodie bag filled with arts and crafts, scoop up cookies and hot cocoa mix, adopt a Holiday Parks Pal, and view the traditional living nativity scene.

Cars enter the drive-thru off Krenek Tap Road from Dartmouth and exit by taking a right onto the State Highway 6 frontage road. Krenek Tap from Highway 6 and Stephen C. Beachy Central Park will be closed from 3-11 p.m. on event days. Parking will not be allowed in the park.

Here’s a more in-depth look at this year’s drive-thru festivities:  

  • Living Nativity Scene: The reason for the season will be brought to life by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. The live nativity scene is put to music, and voice actors tell the story of Jesus’s birth. The living nativity includes real animals, costumed characters, and handcrafted props.
  • North Pole Mailbox: Even though Santa is busy preparing for his deliveries, he’s made plans to stop by and wave to those who pass. He can’t visit to take photos this year, but his elves will be there to collect your wish list for his North Pole mailbox.
  • Cookies and Hot Cocoa: You can’t have Christmas in the Park without cookies and hot cocoa. Grab an individual pack of cookies and a serving of hot chocolate mix — compliments of H-E-B and Patty Cakes BCS — as you make your way through the park.
  • Adopt a Holiday Parks Pal: The Brazos Valley Marine Corps League-Detachment 1391 has rescued hundreds of Parks Pals (stuffed animals) that need a home for the holidays. Children can choose to adopt a free unicorn, dog, cat, llama, dinosaur, husky, or hedgehog. Each Parks Pal is individually bagged, but supplies are limited. Children must be present for the adoption. 
  • Arts and Crafts Goodie Bag:Last but not least, grab a holiday-themed arts and craft goodie bag packed with a craft, coloring sheet, and game. 

The event wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors and community partners — Britt Rice ElectricH-E-BBrazos Valley Marine Corps LeagueBryan BroadcastingChristmas 97.3 FMPatty Cakes BCS, and Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.

The Parks & Recreation Department hopes you have a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and we wish you the best in the coming year. For more information, contact us at 979-764-3486 or


About the Blogger Ana Romero is in her fourth year as recreation manager. She previously served the City of McAllen as recreation supervisor, community center manager, and aquatics superintendent. Ana earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M in 2001.

  If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  

Leave a Reply