Parks and Recreation

Jingle Bell Fun Run celebrates 30th year on Dec. 8

By Gene Ballew, Athletics & Tourism Manager

The Jingle Bell Fun Run is a fun run in its truest sense. The two-mile race isn’t timed and is intended to be a fun way to kick off the annual B-CS Christmas Parade.

Sunday, Dec. 8 marks the 30th anniversary of the Jingle Bell Fun Run and is an ideal opportunity to mark “competing in a fun run” off your bucket list. The event starts at 2:15 p.m., followed by the parade at 3 p.m.

The run starts at the corner of University Drive and South College Avenue and ends at the corner of Texas and Elm Avenue. We’ll have a shuttle waiting for you at the end of the route and, knowing how much dogs enjoy a brisk jaunt, they’re welcome, too.

To commemorate the run’s anniversary, we’ll feature more swag to complement your jingle bells and t-shirt so you can run (or walk) down Texas Avenue in style. The entry fee is only $15 and includes a shirt if you register by Nov. 17. The fee is $20 during the Nov. 18-24 late registration period, but you aren’t guaranteed a shirt.

Packet pick-up is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 4 and from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Beachy Central Park Office at 1000 Krenek Tap Road. For more information, contact us at 979-764-3486 or

Join us as we celebrate 30 years of the fabulous Jingle Bell Fun Run. See you at the finish line!


About the Blogger

Gene Ballew has been with the Parks and Recreation Department for 12 years and is in his second year as the athletics and tourism manager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management from Texas A&M in 2008.


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Create fond family memories at Park in the Dark

By Brooke Littlefield, Assistant Recreation Supervisor

Thanks to Lick Creek Park in the Dark, you don’t have to travel far to create fun memories with your friends and family. The Lick Creek Nature Center family invites you to join us the night of Friday, Oct. 18.

You’ll enjoy campout favorites such as a hot dog dinner, storytelling, and a night hike. Our friends from Texas A&M’s Outdoor Adventures will also help you learn camping basics. The night concludes with a showing of the Disney-Pixar film “A Bug’s Life.”

The family-friendly event begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Campers must bring a tent, supplies, snacks, and drinks. Electricity won’t be provided, and don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag, flashlights, tent lantern, bug spray, and folding chairs.

Limited spots are available, and registration ends Wednesday, Oct. 16. The cost is $8 per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult (18+, and pets aren’t allowed.

If you don’t own camping gear, Outdoor Adventures can rent you some. For more information, call 979-845-7035.

Join us as we make camping memories for a lifetime!


About the Blogger

Brooke Littlefield is in her first year as an assistant recreation supervisor. A College Station native, she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Texas A&M in 2017.


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Monday’s inaugural community conversation: Thomas Park

By Barbara Moore, Assistant to the City Manager/Special Projects

On Monday, Sept. 16, the City of College Station will host the first of what we hope will be many community conversations. We invite you to join us at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Lincoln Recreation Center at 1000 Eleanor St. for the inaugural topic of Thomas Park.

We’ll serve light refreshments and provide childcare.

The primary goal of these conversations is to listen and share information about important community issues. To reduce the formality of these discussions, we’re hosting them away from city hall and removing the usual stressors of lecterns, gavels and speaker time limits. Let’s talk to and learn from one another.

While elected and appointed officials may be in attendance, the conversations will be led and facilitated by City Manager Bryan Woods and city staff.

A second community conversation, one that focuses on code enforcement, is being organized for early next year, and we’ll provide those details when they’re worked out. Because this is a continuing series of conversations on topics of importance to our community, we are open to your suggestions. Feel free to email me at

We hope to see a full room at our first community conversation to help us fully understand the issues that shape our city.


About the Blogger

Barbara Moore is in her 13th year with the City of College Station and her first as assistant to the city manager. Barbara served 12 years as neighborhood services coordinator. She previously was the executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was the director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.


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Learn about field hockey at free clinic Sept. 13

By Trish Winkle, Field Hockey Clinic Instructor

Did you know field hockey is among the world’s most popular sports?

When it came to the United States more than a century ago, field hockey was played predominately on the east coast. In recent years, it found its way across the country — even to parts of Texas.

Field hockey players use a long, hook-shaped stick to hit a hard plastic ball up and down a grass or turf field.  The idea is to score as many goals as you can in the opponent’s goal. Field hockey has many unique rules and shares more similarities with soccer than ice hockey.

Our free clinic on Friday, Sept. 13 from 6-8 p.m. at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex is open to anyone from three-years-old to adult with any ability or mobility level. No need to preregister, either.

The clinic features fun stations where you can learn more about the game’s equipment, rules, and skills. You can spend as little or as much time as you like at each station, but if you finish them all, you can win field hockey sticks and balls, t-shirts, lessons, and more.

The great thing about trying field hockey for the first time is that it’s new to almost everyone else around College Station, too. Regardless of whether you’ve played sports or haven’t found your niche yet, everyone is pretty much on the same level.

The clinic’s primary purpose is to introduce you to an exciting new sport in a fun atmosphere. We invite you to join us!

For more information, call 979-764-3468.


About the Blogger

Trisha Winkle is a former collegiate field hockey player who has coached at the club, high school, and collegiate levels. A native of New Jersey, Trish has recently moved to the area to work in Texas’s A&M’s Education Abroad program. In her free time, she shares her love of field hockey.


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Hysmith Skate Park celebrates 8th anniversary

By Kelly Kelbly, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director

Even in the intense heat of a Texas summer, passersby will notice dozens of people of all ages perfecting their skateboarding skills at the G. Hysmith Skate Park on the eastern edge of Bachmann Park.

Eight years ago today, the City of College Station opened the park in memory of Garrett Hysmith, an energetic, ambitious middle-schooler with a passion for skateboarding. The 13-year-old passed away in 2005 after a courageous nine-year battle with cancer. His family, friends, and community members convinced the city council to make Garrett’s dream of a local skate park a reality.

The G. Hysmith Skate Park is a popular venue for skateboarders of all skill levels. The lighted facility features a covered spectator area, a large pro-style flow bowl, a pool-type bowl, and a long, linear street course that includes hundreds of feet of varying terrain and scalable elements.

Since the park opening in 2011, the Parks and Recreation Department has added restrooms and a covered shelter atop the hill near the bowls for spectators to marvel at the skills of potential Olympians.

Yes, skateboarding is now an Olympic extreme sport and is featured as part of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. While our community may not offer many opportunities for other extreme sports devotees, we offer a superb venue for skateboarding enthusiasts to pursue their passion.

Happy Anniversary, G. Hysmith Skate Park!


About the Blogger

Assistant Director Kelly Kelbly is in her 18th year with the College Station Parks & Recreation Department. A native of Gilmer, Kelly is a 1998 graduate of Texas A&M.


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Games of Texas benefit BCS by a cool $8.1 million

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

The final numbers are in for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Summer Games of Texas. The Olympic-like festival attracted 8,461 athletes from across the state to compete in a dozen events from July 25-29.

Only 130 participants were from College Station, which means the rest – along with about 20,000 of their coaches, family members, and friends – were visitors who dropped an estimated $8.1 million into the local economy by filling local restaurants and hotels.

Participants by Sport

Event Participants Venue
Archery 49 Texas A&M Physical Education Building
Boxing 114 Hilton College Station & Conference Center
Flag Football 276 Veterans Park & Athletic Complex
Judo 57 Texas A&M Physical Education Building
Golf 65 The City Course at Phillips Event Center
Lifeguard Competition 60 Adamson Lagoon
Pickleball 92 Lincoln Recreation Center
Skateboarding 21 Williamson Skate Park
Swimming 2,638 Texas A&M Student Recreation Center
Track & Field 4,459 College Station High School
Ultimate Frisbee 440 Bryan Regional Athletic Complex
Tennis 190 Bryan High School, Texas A&M Mitchell TennisCenter, Texas A&M Omar Instructional Tennis Center, Phillips Event Center
Total Participants 8,461

Here are some interesting tidbits reported by the Bryan and College Station Parks and Recreation Departments, which partnered with Texas A&M to manage the event:

  • Athletes set 53 Games of Texas records — 42 in swimming and 11 in track and field.
  • Participants and volunteers consumed 38,304 bottles of water and used 27,160 pounds of ice.
  • Local sponsors donated 1,185 meals for participants and volunteers.
  • 162 volunteers assisted, including 44 from the Texas Army National Guard.
  • 331 tennis matches were played over three days.
  • 37 boxing bouts were conducted, four involving girls.
  • The lowest golf 18-hole single round score was a 74 by 17-year-old Ethan Galvan from McAllen. Ethan also had the lowest 36-hole tournament score of 74-82=156.

College Station played host for the seventh time after hosting previous events in 1988, 1994, 2000, 2014, 2015, and 2018. The Games of Texas will move to Corpus Christi for the next two years and to Brownsville in 2022-23.

Local GOT Participation by Year 

2019: 8,461

2018: 7,621

2015: 7,750

2014: 8,438

On behalf of the Cities of College Station and Bryan, we extend a special thank you to our volunteers, TAAF liaisons, commissioners and Texas Army National Guard Warriors. The overwhelming success of the event is a direct reflection of your dedication. We sincerely appreciate your gift of time, energy, and enthusiastic support.


About the Blogger

Kelli Nesbitt (@kneztalk) has served the Parks & Recreation Department for 15 years, the last eight as marketing coordinator. A native of Bryan, Kelli earned a bachelor’s degree in health & kinesiology from Sam Houston State.


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