Parks and Recreation

4 new twists for Christmas in the Park

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

Now that the colorful holiday lights are on in Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, it’s time for consecutive weekends of fun at the City of College Station’s Christmas in the Park.

The first activities are Friday and Saturday from 6-10 p.m. at Beachy Central Park, followed by the second weekend Dec. 7-8.

In its 35th year, the annual Christmas event promises to be even better with an additional weekend of festivities, a pair of snow slides, a mobile stage, and a full slate of family-friendly experiences. As usual, you can also enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies, pictures with Santa, hayrides, performances by local song and dance groups, and more.

Christmas in the Park has evolved from a tiny idea and small light display in 1984 into a beloved community tradition. During those years, we tried a lot of different things. Some worked well, and others failed. Here are four new twists we’re trying out in 2018:

  1. Recreation Drive will close from 4-10 p.m. and visitors will be unable to drive through the park. Shuttles will run from 5:30-10:30 p.m. from the Post Oak Mall parking lot (JCPenney side). Handicap parking will be located at the Beachy Central Park softball complex, which can be accessed from State Highway 6.
  2. Free wristbands are required to participate in activities, including the hayride, snow slides, arts and crafts, joy jumps, train, petting zoo, and photos with Santa. To receive a wristband, you must complete a waiver form at an information booth.
  3. A professional photographer is no longer provided for photos with Santa, but you are encouraged to bring your camera to capture the moment. Pets aren’t allowed.
  4. Because of the construction of the Fun for All Playground, our 90-foot-tall Christmas tree has been relocated along Recreation Lane. The new spot has plenty of room to continue the tradition of spinning beneath the giant Tower of Power.

If you can’t make it out for the Christmas in the Park activity weekends, you can still drive or walk through the park on other nights from 6-11 p.m. through New Year’s Day. Our more than 1 million beautiful lights are always the main attraction.

For more information, go to cstx.gov/Christmas or call 979-764-3486.

 


About the Blogger

Kelli Nesbitt (@kneztalk) has served the Parks & Recreation Department for 14 years, the last seven as marketing coordinator. A native of Bryan, Kelli earned a bachelor’s degree in health & kinesiology from Sam Houston State.


 

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Holiday cheer returns with Christmas in the Park

 

By Kelly Kelbly, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director

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

College Station’s beautiful Christmas in the Park displays began in 1984 with a couple of light panels and funding from a local family. The displays have grown to more than one million lights and have become a holiday mainstay in our community.

This year, the lights will burn nightly from 6-11 p.m. from Nov. 22 through New Year’s Day.

What’s different this year?

Thanks to a generous donation by Britt Rice Electric, the 90-foot-tall Christmas tree – a community favorite with more than 14,000 bulbs – will be relocated along Recreation Lane to accommodate the ongoing construction of the Fun for All Playground. Despite the move, the tradition of spinning beneath the giant Tower of Power will continue.

We also encourage you to continue the tradition of driving through the 60 strands of lights that envelop Santa’s Lane. We’ll close the drive-thru on the weekends of Nov. 30-Dec.1 and Dec.7-8 to keep everyone safe as you visit Santa, go on hayrides and grab free hot chocolate and cookies. On those nights, you can still walk through Snowflake Forest – made up of 36 snowflakes – and take pictures in front of the 36-foot lighted paddle boat.

Thank you, Parks crews!

Our crews work year-round prepping the light panels to ensure they brightly shine when it’s time to switch them on. The hundreds of illuminated panels – a bulb for every inch – must be taped precisely to preserve the panel’s mesmerizing effects. Cemetery Sexton Ron Schaefer, better known around our offices as Father Christmas, manages workers from all park districts throughout the fall to create nothing less than Christmas magic.

We encourage you to enjoy the time-honored tradition of holiday lights at Beachy Central Park. For more information, go to cstx.gov/Christmas or call 979-764-3486.

 


kkbioAbout 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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Fall Fest offers fun way for seniors to socialize

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

With leaves changing colors and temperatures cooling, fall is in the air, and the annual Senior Fall Fest is just around the corner. What started as a simple idea for a fall picnic has turned into one of the fall season’s most anticipated events for senior adults.

In 2007, a group of older adults noticed that many friends were spending too much time alone at home. They wanted to find a fun way to get those folks out of the house and socializing again.

The City of College Station Parks & Recreation Department and the Senior Advisory Committee collaborated, and Senior Fall Fest — a social picnic just for seniors — was born. For more than a decade, hundreds of adults 55 years and older have gathered to enjoy an evening of dancing, door prizes, fellowship, and fun.

Seniors are invited to bring friends to join the free celebration from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 in the American Pavilion at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex. Fall Fest will begin with a welcome from the Brazos Valley Council of Government’s Ronnie Gipson, followed by Chaplin Gary Roe leading a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Fuddruckers hamburgers will be served, along with a classic cake walk with desserts donated by Senior Fall Fest sponsors. The event also features door prizes and entertainment by the Lil Aggie Wranglers, the local senior line dancing group Rhythm Rockers, and music by Gene Woodell.

Participants are encouraged to wear costumes with prizes awarded for best dressed. Registration is not required. For more information visit cstx.gov/seniors or call 979-764-6351.

We offer a special thanks to our Senior Fall Fest sponsors: Angels Care Home Health, Accel at College Station, Bluebonnet Place Assisted Living Community, Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging, Caring Transitions of Brazos Valley, CHI St. Joseph Health Mature Well Lifestyle Center, CHI St. Joseph Health Rehabilitation Hospital an affiliate of Encompass Health College Station Medical Center, Comfort Keepers, Commerce National Bank, Compassionate Care Hospice, Franklin Nursing Home, H-E-B, HealthQuest Home Health, Hillier Funeral Home, Hospice Brazos Valley, Isle at Watercrest Bryan, LULAC Oak Hill, Parc at Traditions, Pathways Hospice, Right at Home: In-Home Care & Assistance, Rock Prairie Behavioral Health, Signature Select Services, Texas Home Health Hospice, United Health Care, and Visiting Angels.

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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Special Olympics Fall Classic set for Thursday-Saturday

UPDATE (10/16): The outdoor activities — including bocce, golf, and softball —  have been canceled due to field conditions and safety concerns. The aquatics competition will take place as planned, but Healthy Athletes and Athlete Village are also canceled. Thursday’s registration has been moved to the Courtyard Marriott at 3939 State Highway 6 South from 4-7 p.m. Friday’s opening ceremonies and celebration dance will be from 7-9 p.m. at the Brazos Center at 3232 Briarcrest Drive in Bryan.

By Samantha Perez, Parks & Recreation Event Specialist

I miss two things from grade school – sports and Best Buddies. I met some close friends through sports, but I made one of my best friends through Best Buddies.

Best Buddies is a volunteer organization that creates employment, leadership skills, and other opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Special Olympics Texas is also dear to me. My passion for encouraging and empowering individuals with IDD led me to join Aggie Special Olympics Texas Volunteers while attending Texas A&M. Special Olympics Texas continues to provide annual opportunities for those with IDD to experience joy, physical fitness, and friendship through friendly competition.

The City of College Station will host the Special Olympics Fall Classic Thursday through Sunday at venues across our community. Athletes from across the state will travel to College Station to compete in bocce, golf, softball, and aquatics. We’ve hosted the event since 2012.

You are invited to support Special Olympics Texas and celebrate a night of inclusive fun at Friday’s opening ceremonies. The event is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex, but the location could change depending on the weather.

Check sotx.org for updates or text “fallclassic” to 888777 for weather alerts and relevant news.

For more information or to volunteer for the event, go to sotx.org. If you are interested in hosting a carnival booth or providing a fun activity for the athletes, contact Molly Kuchar at mkuchar@sotx.org.

 


About the Blogger

Parks & Recreation Events Specialist Samantha Perez is in her second year with the City of College Station. She previously worked for the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce and the Texas A&M Athletics Department. A native of Houston, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Park in the Dark like a backyard campout – only better

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

You don’t have to travel hours this fall to enjoy camping out with your family. All you have to do is take advantage of the Parks & Recreation Department’s Lick Creek Park in the Dark the night of Friday, Oct. 19.

The family-friendly overnight campout gives you a chance to escape the city lights and take in terrific views of the nighttime sky in College Station’s largest nature preserve park.

After setting up your tent, you and your family can enjoy time-honored campground favorites such as a hot dog dinner, campfire storytelling, a night hike along the trails, and a movie (“The Parent Trap”) under the stars. The pros at Texas Primitive Outdoors will also be on hand to show you a variety of useful camping tips.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m., and the event ends at sunrise on Saturday. Campers must bring a tent, supplies, snacks, and drinks. Electricity will not be available. Don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag, flashlights, tent lantern, bug spray, and folding chairs. An adult must accompany children, and pets are not permitted.

If you register by Friday, Oct. 12, the cost is $6 for kids 2-12 and $8 for anyone 13 and older. After that, you’ll have to add a $5 late fee.  For more information or to register, visit rectrac.cstx.gov or call 979-764-3486.

Gather your family and friends for this fun-filled, affordable camping experience.

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

Photo Copyright: gsagi / 123RF Stock Photo

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What’s more fun than babies racing in diapers?

By Virginia Godwin, Recreation Supervisor

As a toddler mom, I recognize the need young families have for toddler-geared activities. Toddlers are filled with boundless energy and wonder and are ready to absorb everything about the world around them.

The Parks & Recreation Department’s Toddler 2K & Baby Crawl helps channel a bit of that energy in a positive, fun way. In last year’s inaugural event, we noticed that parents had trained with their little ones, meaning that families were actively engaged and getting outside and moving.

Photos: 2017 Toddler 2K and Baby Crawl

To our surprise, the most competitive bunch were the crawlers. Seeing parents on eye level with their little ones, coaxing them to the finish line was inspiring. Of course, the point wasn’t to finish first but to celebrate each successful inch the babies crawled.

This year’s Toddler 2K and Baby Crawl will be Saturday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m.-noon at the Wolf Pen Creek Festival Site. The event offers age and ability levels for crawlers up to five years old. We’ll have separate tracks for each age division, and only one adult will be allowed on the track per child.

Health and wellness vendors also will be on hand, and we’ll have additional children’s activities. We encourage you to add to the fun by dressing them up in Halloween costumes.

Check-in starts at 8 a.m., and races begin at 9 a.m. Camp Gladiator will also lead a free family workout from 8-9 a.m. for racers and their cheerleaders.

If you register by Friday, Oct. 12, the cost is $5 per child and will include a t-shirt. After that, you’ll have to add a $10 late fee and may not get a shirt. Registration ends Oct. 31. For more information or to register, visit cstx.gov/events or call 979-764-3486.

Special thanks to our Toddler 2K & Baby Crawl sponsors: Delta Life Fitness, Kiddie Academy, KinderMusik, Once Upon a Child, Viking Floor Supercenter, and Camp Gladiator.

 


About the Blogger

Virginia Godwin is in her fourth year as recreation supervisor. A College Station native, she previously served as staff development specialist for Kids’ Klub, the College Station Independent School District’s after-school program.


 

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