Posts tagged “Christmas in the Park

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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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.  






 


Christmas in the Park delights community again

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

As Santa heads back to the North Pole to prepare for his Christmas Eve deliveries, the Parks and Recreation staff is cleaning up, repairing lights and picking up remnants of the good times left behind from this year’s Christmas in the Park events.

Over the last two weekends, we enjoyed watching families revel under the giant Christmas tree and delight in the festive light displays and activities. Everyone seemed to have a positive response to Christmas in the Park, and the shuttles from Post Oak Mall made the short trip to Stephen C. Beachy Park seamless.

More than 18,125 guests savored the holiday sights and sounds during the four days of celebration.

Since it began in 1984, the event has evolved from a small light display into a beloved community tradition. We’ve added a few activities — a petting zoo, inflatables, shuttle, and two real snow slides — but it essentially remains the same program at heart. We strive to handcraft our light displays with the same loving care and spirit of the great Christmas in the Park teams of the past.

Here’s a glimpse at the impressive numbers from the event days (Dec. 6-7, 13-14):

  • 12,000 cups of hot cocoa served.
  • 24,000 Christmas cookies devoured.
  • 14,462 wristbands given away.
  • 9,060 people rode the shuttle.
  • 120,000 pounds of ice used for snow slides.
  • 12,500 candy canes handed out by Santa.
  • 168 volunteers assisted, including 28 from Bryan Collegiate High School.
  • 1 million+ Christmas lights displayed.

While the organized activities are finished for this year, our beautiful lights will be displayed from 6-11 p.m. each night through Jan. 2. We offer a special thanks to our sponsors: Britt Rice Electric, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and H-E-B.

We’d love to hear what you think about this year’s event. Just leave your comment on this blog or the city’s Facebook page.

Merry Christmas!

 


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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Bright lights of Christmas in the Park start Nov. 28

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.


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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