Busy weekend ushers in the holiday season
Christmas festivals, choral society concert highlight multitude of events tonight, Saturday
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec. 1, 2006 - The hint of winter in the air will lend a seasonal atmosphere to the many events slated this weekend in recognition of the holiday season.

The weekend got off to a rolling start  this morning at First United Methodist Church with Lake Country Court Appointed Special Advocates' Annual Cookie Walk, which raises money for training, expenses, and to assist in providing those little "extras" for the children they serve. People were lined up outside the door a full 15 minutes before the event started, and a steady stream of contributors trickled through all morning to scoop up some of the tasty treats. And even more people than usual pitched in to bake cookies, with several individuals contributing tasty treats this year along with the usual pastry prepared by members of civic clubs and groups.

Later this evening will be the conclusion of Christmas in the Park, Hopkins County Historical Society's annual holiday festival among the lighted historical buildings at Heritage Park. Christmas in the Park begins at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 8 p.m. at the park. Hot chocolate and warm cider will be offered to help warm those willing to brave the nippy air to take in the "Wonderland of Lights." There will also be cookies, and Santa will make an appearance to take Christmas wish lists from children. The gift shop will also be open, and there will be live music and a live nativity scene.

The Winter Carnival at Bowie Elementary School also begins at 5:30 p.m. tonight. There will be games, door prizes, and an auction of donated items, including some purchased by each class using donations made by the students. The Winter Carnival will continue until 8 p.m. The Parent-Teacher Organization event will help pay for special extras for the students, such as admission for field trips or new equipment.

Another Hopkins County holiday tradition, the "North Pole of Texas" will officially open for the season at 6 p.m. tonight. The free train rides through the lighted display on Alan and Kim Screws' dairy in Pine Forest will be offered each Friday and Saturday night through Dec. 22-23, and also on  Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 20-21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For directions log on to www.northpoleoftexas.com or call 866-3005.

At 6:30 p.m. this evening will be Christmas on the Square, where the tree dedicated to the men and women in the United States armed forces will be lit on the downtown courthouse square. The event will also feature a special story about Christmas told by a local pastor, a live nativity scene, Christmas music, the lighting of the "North Pole," a visit from Santa, extended hours at shops and restaurants downtown, and trolley rides to Heritage Park for Christmas in the Park.

On Saturday, the merriment continues with the annual Lions Club Christmas Parade, following the traditional route from Buford City Park at 10 a.m. Line up is at 9:30 a.m.

Immediately following the parade will be a festival of fun as Christmas on the Square continues with train rides for kids, carriage rides, arts and crafts, bed races, courthouse  tours, performances in the courthouse, music by local talent, a children's art show and a lot more.

At 7 p.m. Saturday will be Northeast Texas Choral Society's Annual Christmas concert. Tickets are still available at local banks or from Choral Society members for $10 for adults and $5 for children, or at the door for $12 for adults and $7 for children. The concert will again be offered at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the concert at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center are good for either night. Choral Society members will also offer a sampling of songs from their Christmas concert about 3 p.m. during Saturday's Christmas on the Square.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, will be the Lights of Life Tree Lighting Ceremony in front of Hopkins county Memorial Hospital at 6 p.m. The Lights of Life Gala will follow at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, at The Lodge.

A week from tomorrow, Dec. 9, will be "The Reason for the Season Christmas Show" featuring "The Texas Christmas Music Show" plus local talent. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center and benefits Empty Stocking and Blue Santa programs. For more information or tickets, go to www.civiccenteronline.com

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