Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 5, 2012

Hurtling into the Holidays

Street Sweets kicks off the holiday season, more festivities follow until year’s end

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — The Chamber of Commerce's annual "Street Sweets" event on Halloween helped keep children safe and parents happy, as scads of cutely-dressed trick-or-treaters helped themselves to candy from the 25 businesses participating in the popular event.

The 5  to 6 p.m. event called for a controlled entrance and exit for the "fun zone" at the Norman Activity Center Parking Lot, 526 E. Commerce St. Participants had to bring a canned good, a bag of candy or $1 per family to be admitted.

These went to benefit  HOPE and the Crisis Center. HOPE ended up collecting roughly eight bushel baskets of canned goods and Crisis Center collected $375, according to a report from the chamber.

"A huge thank you goes out to all of the businesses and individuals who participated the day of the event and who brought candy and donated before the event," wrote Kayla Stephenson, project coordinator of the  Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, in the report. "Without your participation we would not have been able to have such a successful event and give back to the community."

 The Street Sweets event is sponsored by the Jacksonville  Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and individuals. Serving on the Street Sweets Committee are Nathan Jones, Chamber chairman of the board; Brett Brewer, Chamber chairman-elect; Nancy Washburn, Chamber community development division chair; and committee members Bobbie Durham, Debbie Kerzee, and Jaclyn Tyler.

Memories are the focus of this year's Christmas parade


Here are five exceptional Yuletide memories, submitted for your approval in anticipation of Christmas 2012:

1.  The fresh smell of a just-purchased Christmas tree.

2.  TV reruns of "Frosty The Snowman," "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," or "Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer."

3.  Snow — if you were able to find any in Texas.

4. That amazing, yet simultaneously-odd, musical Christmastime video in which David Bowie and Bing Crosby astonish listeners with a magical duet of "Little Drummer Boy."

And … No. 5? Any year you were able to see Jacksonville's Annual Old Fashioned Christmas Parade, of course.

The theme for the parade this year, coincidentally, is "Christmas Memories." And who would know this better than the 2012 Grand Marshals — local nursing home residents?

Residents from facilities such as Twin Oaks Convalescent Center, Bonner Place, Gardendale Rehabilitation  and Health Center, Jacksonville Healthcare Center and The Arbors Nursing Home in Rusk, have all been invited to participate in the parade, said Melody Walters, Christmas parade event director.

It will be an excellent departure from the stereotypical, overly-commercialized Christmas, Walters said.

"When you think about Christmas memories, you think about the past and they can tell us things about the past most of us probably have no clue about," Walters said. "When I spoke to some of them about what Christmas means, they said they used to go cut their own trees and make their own ornaments."

The parade will held starting at 6:15 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6. Lineup begins at 5:45 p.m. on Commerce and Patton Street. The deadline to enter is Fri., Nov. 30.

"This event is a great way for businesses to advertise, for the community to become involved, and for a families to come together and have a fun night," Alex Thompson of the Chamber said in an email.

Should weather not permit, the inclement weather makeup date is  6:15 p.m. Monday, December 10.

 The route begins on Commerce Street at the intersection of Patton Street. It continues on Commerce Street, turns left on Austin Street at the Tomato Bowl, and turns left again on Wilson Street behind the Norman center. It then continues on Wilson Street. and turns left one last time on Bonner Street.

Of great interest will be the contest for the Best Decorated Float, officials said. First through third places will be awarded.

There will be rules, which include:

° No candy throwing — although residents can walk the parade route and pass out candy.

° All floats with lights of any sort must have a fire extinguisher on the trailer.

° No obscene music.

° No Santa Claus, except for the one already scheduled to make an appearance.  The fire department will have a truck with Santa.

  Anyone who is interested in participating in the parade can visit website www.Jacksonvilletexas.com and print the Christmas parade form. Simply return it to the Chamber of Commerce at 526 E. Commerce St. Jacksonville or by fax at 903-586-6944.

"Be sure to attend the Lighting of Hazel Tilton Park immediately following the parade," Thompson suggested in the email.

In addition to Walters, this annual Christmas Parade is organized by the Chamber of Commerce's Robin Butt, tourism development; and Susan Jones, tour of homes director.

 To inquire further, contact the chamber at 903-586-2217.