Posts tagged “Christmas in College Station

Choose to Shop College Station this holiday season

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

An annual rite of the holiday season is the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers searching stores for the perfect gift. The shops are festively decorated, and smiles abound as the joy of the season overwhelms our senses. 

Holiday shopping may look different this year, but those ideal gifts remain in abundance. In fact, with many businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping in College Station is more vital than ever. 

You have friends, family members, and neighbors who own or operate — or are employed by — these businesses. Our entire community needs them to stay afloat.

Local shopping also generates sales taxes, a portion of which goes directly back to your community to fund essential government services such as the police, fire, and parks departments. More than 30% of the City of College Station’s annual revenue comes from sales tax revenue. When local sales are strong, we rely less on other revenue sources, which benefits us all.

Holiday shopping has traditionally been the most critical time of year for countless businesses since it generates their annual sales peak. This year, many are just trying to survive until the pandemic passes, and normal life resumes.

You can help by choosing to shop in College Station.

Local businesses have implemented extensive precautions to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Some retailers have started Black Friday-type savings events early to avoid a rush of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. Others allow you to order online and pick-up at the store, with many offering a curbside option.

Some even have contactless home delivery options for College Station and Bryan residents. 

Local stores have installed ample safety measures such as plexiglass dividers at check out and multiple sanitizing stations. All are enforcing six-foot physical spacing and mandatory face coverings. 

 While the obligatory face coverings may conceal the broad smiles we typically share at Christmastime, they can’t hide the sparkle in shoppers’ eyes and the cheerful nature of the season.

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

 


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 parks@cstx.gov

 


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.


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Podcast: How tourism can fuel business recovery

For the first time since the pandemic changed everything, I interviewed Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz. In spite of the local, state and federal funding put into the hands of local businesses, we still lost far too many.

So, now what?

In this episode of All Up In Your Business, Natalie talks about her dual role of supporting local businesses while aggressively working to bring in more jobs that diversify College Station’s economy. She also explains how her office’s brand-new tourism division aims to bring people to College Station at a time when there is still a reluctance to travel, attend events, and visit destinations.

This episode also features Economic Development Manager Aubrey Nettles, who is leading a holiday campaign to make College Station the Christmas destination in Texas, thanks in large part to a strategic partnership with Santa’s Wonderland. 

Nat finishes up with a few fun biz updates on things coming soon to College Station.

All Up In Your Business is available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. Please subscribe, rate, and recommend!

Have a suggestion for a future topic or interview, or just want to say hi? Send to jsocol@cstx.gov  

 


About the Blogger Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Campaign aims to make CS a holiday destination

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

Many people see visions of festive winter wonderlands and Santa loading his sleigh at the North Pole when they think of Christmas.

That may be about to change.

Visit College Station, in partnership with Santa’s Wonderland, wants to make our community THE destination for holiday celebrations.

We are introducing Christmas in College Station, a series of holiday events and specials throughout the city. The goal is to attract visitors who stay overnight, providing a significant boost to our local economy. The partnership encourages Santa’s Wonderland visitors to extend their stay in College Station to enjoy festive events and cheerful specials.

More than 300,000 visitors from across the nation visit Santa’s Wonderland each year, and more are on the way thanks to a breathtaking expansion to what was already an unmatched holiday destination.

Making its debut in 2020 is Illuminations Ice Arena, the region’s premier outdoor ice skating venue. Guests can glide on a sheet of real ice surrounded by thousands of holiday lights under the bright Texas stars. Other new attractions include Santa’s Farm and a second Trail of Lights, walkable elements featuring family-friendly adventures, hand-crafted Texas light displays, tunnels, and even a live nativity scene.

And Christmas in College Station isn’t just for visitors — residents and area businesses can join in the fun, too!

HOLIDAY SPECIALS

We encourage College Station businesses to create a holiday special for a day, weekend, week, or entire season (Nov. 20-Dec. 31). What you do is up to you. The deadline to submit your holiday special is Monday, Nov. 2. Be sure to deck the halls of your establishment to create an ultimate Christmas experience!

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

Create unique photo booths for the public to capture the perfect holiday photo. The Arts Council of Brazos Valley will create a map highlighting the picture-perfect locations.

HOLIDAY ARTISAN MARKET VENDORS

If you’re an artisan or curator, reserve your spot at the Holiday Artisan Market at Century Square from noon-4 p.m. on Dec. 20. The registration fee is $25 and includes tables, chairs, linens, and signage. Spots are limited, so reserve yours today.

SANTA-CERTIFIED HOTELS

Do you have family or friends coming to town for the holidays and don’t have enough room at your place? Check out the deals at our Santa-Certified Hotels.

EVENTS

Christmas in College Station’s offerings include Howdy Holly-Days at Northgate, the Holiday Artisan Market at Century Square, the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert, For King & Country’s A Drummer Boy Drive-In Live: “The Christmas Tour” at Reed Arena, the city’s traditional Christmas in the Park, and much more.

Are you planning a holiday event that will be open to the public? Add it to our campaign!

Stay updated on all the holiday events and specials at ChristmasInCS.com.


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.