Holiday events attract visitors to downtown Victoria

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.

Bikers pass the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts in The Lighted Christmas Parade in 2011 in Victoria.

Bikers pass the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts in The Lighted Christmas Parade in 2011 in Victoria.

Christmas on the Square and the Lighted Christmas Parade are both longtime Victoria traditions.

Christmas on the Square, hosted the night before the parade, is an event for families to enjoy said Keith Benedict, recreation specialist with the City of Victoria. DeLeon Plaza will be taken over with lights, a visit from Santa Claus, a hay ride tour of downtown and hot chocolate and cookies. The event is free, and parents can take photos of their children with Santa Claus in the gazebo, which will be decorated in the holiday spirit.

Benedict said there will be a new addition this year that he thinks a lot of the children will enjoy.

"One of the big things about this year will be the reindeer. I think a lot of kids are going to be very intrigued by seeing real reindeer," he said.

Knowing how big reindeer can grow to be, Benedict said he will be excited to see the children's reaction when they are at the plaza.

The Lighted Christmas Parade begins Main and Goodwin streets and goes south on Main to Church Street. It then turns and continues north on Bridge Street back to Goodwin.

Benedict said this year's parade will include more than 120 floats from businesses in the county and beyond.

"A lot of people will come out and enjoy the lights," he said.

Danielle Williams, also a recreation specialist with the City of Victoria, has been a part of the group that has brought the holiday events to downtown for several years. She said she always looks forward to the new floats in the parade.

Because the lights are a requirement for the parade, which is held at night, the level of creativity reaches a new level every year.

"The parade is always neat to see the creativity of the community and how they put together a float for a nighttime event and how they light it up at night. It's always neat to see what they come up with every year," she said.

"It's always nice to see the little kids so happy to see Santa Claus and take pictures with him," Williams said.

Although each year brings new and different floats to the parade, she said, the H-E-B float is among her favorites but hasn't pinpointed a single float, yet.

"I don't have a personal favorite," she said. "They change every year."

Benedict said the City of Victoria's environmental services department's float includes an appearance by Santa Claus and that a local car club usually joins the parade, too.

"Be sure to show up early for a good seat," he said. "It's cool to see how (the floats) all do it. Some go above and beyond just the regular lights."



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