By CHERIL VERNON
The City of Palestine will be decked out with festive decorations while hosting a number of events that attract visitors from near and far during this holiday season.
“We started today putting up decorations that the council had approved for the 2013 holiday season,” Palestine Main Street Manager Laura Westgate told the Herald-Press Tuesday. “We have an animated train where the smoke puffs and the wheels move on Spring Street by the trains. We expanded our decorations in the downtown area and we will be decorating all four quadrants of the courthouse square this year. It's going to be amazing.”
City of Palestine personnel helped employees from Don Bowman Designs of Waco put up 10 lighted Christmas trees at Reagan Park, along Crockett Road, and another four by City Hall Tuesday. The Waco company was responsible for the 40-foot train decoration on Spring Street as well.
“The trees at Reagan Park are part of our plan to draw in visitors from the Polar Express™ into our main shopping district,” Westgate said. “We also have expanded from 60 to 80 poles for the snowflake lights in the downtown area and we have a lot of businesses downtown putting lights up too. Palestine is truly turning into a Christmas land.”
Special events and activities are planned now through Dec. 29 with the the Polar Express™ coming to life at the Texas State Railroad beginning this Friday. From snow tubing in the Palestine Main Street District to ice skating under the Texas stars, there will be plenty of family-friendly fun.
“A train ride is just the beginning of our holiday traditions in Palestine,” City of Palestine Marketing Manager Breezy Lake-Wolfe said.
Some of this year’s holiday attractions include: pop-up specialty Christmas stores, trolley rides through Palestine’s unique historic neighborhoods and an art gallery, located in downtown.
"Everyone downtown is looking forward to the 2013 season,” Westgate said. “For the last four years, we have been building a great community effort to offer unique experiences -- experiences that you can't find anywhere else. This coming together of the community, city, county, business owner and volunteers has been beneficial in terms of quality of life and economic impact. Main Street invites everyone to enjoy the holidays with us; this is going to be an amazing season."
Palestine is designated as a Texas Main Street and is home to more than 1,800 historic sites; including churches, buildings, houses, monuments, cemeteries and museums. Established in 1846, Palestine has more buildings in the National Register of Historic Places than any Texas city except Galveston.
“Our city is going to be filled with family-oriented activities, events and decorations that capture the holiday season,” Lake-Wolfe said. “We want everyone to experience our modern hotels, charming B&Bs, spas, wineries, diverse shopping and restaurants for all palettes. Visiting Palestine with the family is special any time of the year, but without a doubt the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are magical.”
A complete list of holiday events and activities can be found at www.visitpalestine.com or call 903-723-3014.