With less than four weeks until Christmas, a host of holiday events are planned to welcome Santa Claus and get kids in the spirit of the season. Here’s a look at what communities in and around Cooke County have in store:
Saturday, Nov. 30
Muenster’s annual lighted Christmas parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. from Seventh and Main streets in Muenster. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at Muenster State Bank, 201 Main St., following the parade, according to information posted to the Muenster Chamber of Commerce website.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Collinsville’s “Christmas on the Square” annual tree lighting will take place 6-8 p.m. with a chili supper, live music and visits with Santa hosted by the Collinsville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Thursday, Dec. 5
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 86th annual Christmas parade is set to make its way through downtown Gainesville at 6 p.m. This year’s Dr. Seuss-style theme is “Welcome to Gainesville.” The city tree will light up as Santa passes by at the end of the parade and he’ll be at the Gainesville Farmers Market afterward for pictures.
The Whitesboro Chamber of Commerce and Keep Whitesboro Beautiful will host Whitesboro’s tree lighting, “Merry and Bright” Christmas parade, photos with Santa and other activities starting at 5 p.m. The parade will step off at 6:30 p.m. and will proceed down Main Street from College Street to Trollinger Park. Gospel singers Mary Fay Jackson, Jim Shelton, Bev McCann and Southern Sonlight will be performing, along with trumpeter Paul Terrell and the Whitesboro Community Choir.
Friday, Dec. 6
Christmas in Callisburg will take place beginning with the town Christmas tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. followed by a showing of “The Grinch” at 6 p.m. in the park. Attendees should bring blankets and lawn chairs. Food trucks will be set up at the baseball field.
Saturday, Dec. 7
The Morton Museum of Cooke County, 210 S. Dixon St., will host a Pancakes and Pajama Party with Santa from 9-11 a.m. Cost is $10 for pancakes and a 4x6 picture with Santa. Sign up by calling 940-668-8900 or purchase tickets on the museum website at www.mortonmuseum.org.
The Valley View Area Chamber of Commerce “White Christmas” festivities will feature vendors and downtown merchants from 2-7 p.m. and the evening’s lighted parade will step off at 5:30 p.m. Candy will be thrown from floats in the Valley View square, according to parade rules. After the parade, hot chocolate and cookies will be served and Santa will be on hand for pictures.
The parade for Christmas on Gene Autry Drive in Tioga will line up beginning at 5 p.m. at Tioga Middle School, 405 N. Florence St., and step off at about 6 p.m. The parade will head across Farm-to-Market Road 121 to Gene Autry Drive, then will turn toward the town square and go around the block before returning. A tree lighting will follow the parade on Gene Autry Drive. Several bounce houses, a mechanical bull ride, live music, vendors and refreshments will be available and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the tree after the parade for pictures. The event is free to the public.
From 3 to 8 p.m. residents can enjoy Christmas on the Square in downtown Pilot Point. Santa and Mrs. Claus will light the city’s tree on the town square and welcome Christmas to Pilot Point. The free Kids Zone will have a rock climbing wall, face painting and mini train rides. There will also be cookie decorating, horse-drawn carriage rides and church choir and dance performances. All activities are free.
From 6 to 8 p.m., Christian Gathering Church in Valley View will be host to the eighth annual Christmas Under the Stars live Nativity and concert at the pavilion on the north side of the Valley View square. Refreshments, a family photo booth, a selfie station and a petting zoo will be available.
Sunday, Dec. 8
Era’s annual Christmas parade is set to step off at 3 p.m. from the feed store. This year’s theme is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Lineup will begin at 2 p.m. Cookies, coffee and hot chocolate will be served in the community center immediately after the parade.
Saturday, Dec. 14
A Winter Wonderland ice skating event will be offered 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Heritage Park, 301 N. Ash St. in Muenster. A kids area will also feature Christmas ornament making, cookie decorating and music and dance performances. Cornhole, dominos, and various craft and food vendors will be available for the adults.
This year’s Saint Jo Chamber of Commerce “Santa on the Square” celebration will kick off at 2 p.m. with children’s crafts, a live manger scene, family photos, wagon rides and a parade to welcome Santa. The parade will step off at 5 p.m. with cookies, coffee and hot chocolate provided by Saint Jo’s Century Club. All crafts and food are free. A full schedule is at https://www.saintjochamber.com/events.
The Morton Museum of Cooke County will host its annual “All That Glitters” tour of historic homes decorated for Christmas. The tour will be open 3-7 p.m. Tickets are $18 and are available at the museum, 210 S. Dixon St., or on the museum website at www.mortonmuseum.org.
For more Christmastime events, visit the Gainesville Daily Register’s online calendar at www.gainesvilleregister.com/events.