By Kelly Kelbly, Parks & Recreation Assistant Director
If you’re like me, you struggle with putting out Christmas decorations when your last guest leaves at Thanksgiving.
That’s not the case with the bright and colorful lights that go up for the city’s annual Christmas at the Park.
For more than 30 years, Parks and Recreation crews have spent 6-8 weeks each fall installing the lights and hand-crafted panels at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park. That means the effort begins in early October, long before you even thaw your Thanksgiving turkey.
The crews diligently work around fall leagues and events to transition the park into a lighted winter wonderland. They toil in the heat, cold, rain — and sometimes ice — to ensure a radiant and festive glow when we flip the switch on Thanksgiving Day.
The centerpiece is the Tower of Power, a 90-foot tall Christmas Tree adorned with 14,000 shimmering lights. Thanks to a generous donation by the Britt Rice family, the popular ritual of spinning beneath the giant tree continues.
We also encourage you to take your family’s traditional drive through the 60 strands of lights that frame Santa’s Lane. The only nights that won’t be available are on Christmas in the Park event weekends Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-14. We’ll close the drive-thru at 7 a.m. on event days to keep everyone safe as we set-up for visits with Santa, hayrides, and of course, hot chocolate and cookies.
Shuttles will run from 5-10 p.m. from the Post Oak Mall parking lot (JC Penny side) to the park. Handicap parking will be at the park’s softball complex, which is accessible from State Highway 6.
You can still walk through the 36 snowflakes in Snowflake Forest, take pictures in front of the 36-foot lighted paddleboat, and wander along the tunnel on the back trail.
For many local families, Christmas in the Park has become a holiday institution. The Parks & Recreation family invites you to continue the tradition and create new and lasting memories.
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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For more information, go to cstx.gov/christmas.
By Chase T. Brooke, GIS Intern
When we conducted our last geocaching event in December, one cache was particularly difficult to locate. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) can get you within 3-5 feet of your objective, but you’re on your own after that.
After a lengthy search, we finally completed our mission when we found the small, pill-sized canister hanging from a tree branch.
One participant brought his children and they had blast running around with us trying to locate the hidden “treasures.” Their reactions when we found a cache – especially the one in the tree – were priceless.
Geocaching uses GPS-enabled devices such as handheld GPS units or smartphones to find containers hidden by other geocachers who have uploaded the coordinates online. Searchers use the coordinates to locate the cache, then log their visit on a sheet of paper inside.