Families and community members gathered downtown Friday night for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Over the next hour, people continued to arrive in pairs, trios, groups and singles, to finish packing Celebration Plaza and along the 15th Annual Lions Club Lighted Christmas Parade route.
Visitors to downtown were able to shop at local businesses and check out the items available from the vendor booths Friday night on the plaza. Some used the time between the tree lighting and parade to treat the family or that special someone to a meal or cool treat at the restaurants and downtown. Some also participated in contests such as an Ugly Sweater contest while they waited.
By 6:30 p.m. children waited, giddily excited for the start of the parade, bouncing with anticipation, so eager to catch a glimpse of Kris Kringle. And he did not disappoint – those downtown early enough got to see him twice Friday
As is tradition, Santa not only had the honor of kicking things off with the countdown for the lighting of Sulphur Springs’ official Christmas tree on Celebration Plaza. The world renowned jolly holiday gift-giver helped close the night out, waving and calling holiday greetings to youngster from atop the city fire truck at the end of the parade.
This year, the city opted not to dim the street and police striped in red and white Christmas lights, giving just enough light to see the many participants involved in the parade while still letting the colorfully lit conveyances shine brilliantly.
Santa wasn’t the only visitor for the North Police. Several of his elves made the trip, to ride and stride alongside local helpers including Blue Santa in the Dec. 3, 2021 Sulphur Springs Lions Club Lighted Christmas Parade. The parade featured several Grinches, whose friendly waves and cheer seemed to belie the name. Children squealed in delight to see several of their favorite Disney characters, and were startled to hear the first sirens from emergency vehicles, gasped then giggled when drivers of semis sounded their air horns and waved excitedly to family and friends who passed.
The procession was lead down Connally Street, to Jefferson, then Church and Houston Streets by a police escort, with the haybale Lion float and bands at at the front of the parade. Among the conveyances were trailers topped with holiday scenes featuring local business employees and their families, the fast merrily dressed Rocker-ettes, local royalty such as Ms. Hopkins County Senior and past pageant queens, The Chamber’s Cindy Lou Stew, merrily decorated sanitation trucks, semis and towing vehicles, several fire trucks featuring holiday lights and décor, Jeeps, a rig pulling a mini train cars, Blue Santa and elves who accepted toy donations along the route, some military personnel, Sulphur Springs and Como-Pickton bands, cheerleaders, at least one drill team and even a school mascot or two, and several other merry Christmas entries.
A special thanks to all of the officers, volunteers and city workers who provided security, set things up, secured the parade route and downtown, and many participants and sponsors of the weekend’s activities as well as our broadcast.
Upcoming Christmas Activities
The night’s activities set the stage for a great holiday season, which continues Saturday, Dec. 4, with plenty of opportunities to pick up gifts for everyone on your list at the Christmas Market on Main Street, which began at 9 a.m. Saturday and continues until 4 p.m. Saturday, as well as at the Christmas Store inside Christmas in Heritage Park, which will be open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. tonight (Dec. 4). And, the weekend will finish off on a high note with the Northeast Texas Choral Society Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at SSHS Auditorium. There’s also still time to purchase a chance to win one of the brilliantly decorated Christmas trees being raffled, with funds going to help the children Lake Country CASA serves; tickets for the Miracles Made on Connally Street raffle are available for $25 each by call 903-885-1173 or visiting CASA at 218 Connally St. in Sulphur Springs.
If you’re feeling generous, Blue Santa could still use donations of new unwrapped toys appropriate for kids 0-14 in the designated barrels at merchants around the county. Monetary donations may also be made online from a smart device using the QR code on this year’s Blue Santa flyers. Arrangements for toy or monetary donations may also be made by contacting Tanner Crump or Angela Price at the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office at 903-438-4040, or by messaging the Blue Santa/Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County Facebook page.