Organizations that conduct community-wide celebrations and events spend time in advanced planning, sometimes months ahead of the scheduled events.

The Rusk Chamber of Commerce is one such organization and has been planning for the 2021 Hometown Christmas Experience, scheduled from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.

The inaugural event was held in 2020 with vendors, a car and bike show and a tree lighting ceremony. This year’s second Hometown Christmas event will maintain these elements and add caroling as well as fun giveaways and activities, according to Chamber Manager Leilani Sales.

As part of the preparations, the chamber held a Hometown Christmas T-shirt design contest. The design was to include the 2021 theme, Rusk Around the Christmas Tree. With 16 entries, the committee chose the design submitted by Sophie Philibert, 18, of Rusk.

“The inspiration behind the design was me trying to really tie together Rusk and Christmas. Then, I remembered that a lot of traditional Christmas trees have a toy train going around the base of their trunks and I connected the dots between the Rusk’s depot for the Texas State Railroad and the toy train which fit this year’s theme of Rusk Around the Christmas Tree,” Philibert stated. “I was excited with the logo contest as our family was just getting our store, The Cherokee Parcel Post, ready to open during last year’s tree lighting and this year’s contest gave me opportunity to get more involved in our community and give back a bit of that holiday spirit.”

A fundraiser raffle to benefit Keep Rusk Beautiful fund, to be used on Christmas lights and décor around Rusk, was also conducted. The raffle winner, drawn at random, won a night in the teepee at the Rusk KOA. Morgan Ford’s name was chosen as the winner in the live drawing which was streamed to the Chamber’s Facebook page.

The chamber continues to hold Christmas committee meetings for anyone interested in assisting with plans for the event.

Volunteers are also being sought for the Hometown Christmas Experience to assist vendors locate their assigned places, work one of the activity booths or to help with set up or clean up. High school students looking for volunteer hours are welcome.

The annual Christmas parade is scheduled for Dec. 7, with the 2021 theme announced in the weekly Chamber letter Tuesday, Sept. 14.

For more information on the Hometown Christmas Experience, follow the Rusk Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, or contact the chamber by phone, 903-683-4242, or email, info@ruskchamber.com.

For more information on the Rusk Chamber of Commerce, visit ruskchamber.com.

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