No matter where you are from, you and your family can experience a Hometown Christmas Celebration right here in Glen Rose.

This Saturday will mark the kickoff of the Christmas season locally, when local residents as well as visitors from afar can be a part of the magic.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, a Christmas bazaar will commence around the downtown square with a wide variety of vendors, and local entertainment will be performing throughout the day.

The fun will continue with the annual Christmas parade and, of course, the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as the fun countdown to the annual lighting of the Christmas tree on the downtown square. Before calling it a night, visitors can soak in even more Christmas spirit by motoring over to Oakdale Park for a drive-through look at beautiful Christmas lights.

“We’re encouraging locals to come out and reconnect with their community and friends,” said Kristen Gibson, director of the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re looking for visitors to come out and experience what’s been described as the ‘Hope Floats’ type of Christmas — the Hallmark movie, where it’s slower and it’s more unique and quaint with our beautiful downtown square, our beautiful Christmas tree, the stores all decorated up, less commercial, more hometown. We do advertise it as the Hometown Christmas Celebration for that reason.”

Among the groups set to provided entertainment are dancers from Happy Toes Dance as well as Training Ground Studios, plus the Starry Skies Tumblers, the Paluxy River Bluegrass Association and even vocal performances from the Glen Rose Intermediate School choir.

PARADE, SANTA

The parade will begin its route toward downtown at Glen Rose High School at 6 p.m. Saturday. The parade’s arrival downtown is expected to be at about “6:15-ish” according to Gibson.

Santa and Mrs. Claus. will make their “grand entrance” straight from the North Pole, riding in style all the way to the downtown square courtesy of Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company. Then children on hand will get their big chance to spend a little quality time in the presence of Santa.

“It’s magic. Not everyone gets an experience like they get here. It’s so personal, it’s so nostalgic. And it’s unique,” Gibson said. “So we are excited and really just looking forward to the experience again this year.”

OAKDALE LIGHTS

The annual Oakdale Park Christmas Light Drive-Through, just around the corner and up the street from the square, begins Saturday night.

Gibson is encouraging families to make plans to make the short drive to Oakdale, which is at 1019 NE Barnard St.

“What I would love to do is make it a tradition for people to participate in, where people do commit to coming and being a part of that because it’s really fun and a lot of people really enjoy it. That’s another part of the hometown part of what we’re doing here,” Gibson said. “When I was a kid, we used to hop in the car with our parents and drive around and look at all of the lights. There would be full neighborhoods where it was just totally decked out and beautiful and crazy. It’s harder and harder to find that now because people are so busy.”

People who would like to contribute to the festivities can either donate unwanted Christmas lights for Oakdale Park, become a “cabin adoptee” or help with putting up decorations. If so, call 254-897-3081 to find out how. Those who donate in a big way can even have a sign posted with their name on it somewhere along the Christmas light drive-through, if they would like.

EXPLORE MORE

Gibson also mentioned that the CVB’s tagline is “Explore Glen Rose” — which includes even more fun wide-ranging experiences.

“It’s kind of our mantra. We really want people to explore Glen Rose,” Gibson said. “We want them to explore the food, we want them to explore the attractions, we want them to explore the nature, so for Christmas we want them to explore the lights, we want them to explore with their families, we want them to get out and do something.”

Other Glen Rose downtown events coming will include Shoo-Fly Santa’s Soda Shop Christmas (5:30-8:30 p.m.) along with the Glen Rose Business Alliance’s Christmas on the Square — both on Dec. 7.

“And that’s going to include a “mocktail walk,” which I think will be really fun. It’s kind of like a cocktail but without the alcohol,” Gibson said. “(People) will be able to go from store to store and try the different drinks while they shop. Non-alcoholic drinks that are just provided free of charge to people as they walk around and shop.”

On Dec. 14 will be Breakfast with Santa at Oakdale Park, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. That event will cost $10 per adult, and each ticket allows up to two kids under age 10 to join the fun with Santa.

“That is a ticketed event. We only allow up to 50 kids because we want to make sure they have plenty of time to spend with Santa,” Gibson said.

The Somervell County Expo Center also has some holiday events coming as well, featuring its fifth annual Holiday Extravaganza on Dec. 14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gibson said she hopes that, for years to come, visitors will be asking their family members, “Remember that time we went to Glen Rose and we just had a blast?”

She added, “We encourage people to make a vacation out of the ’shop small’ experience because you can really only shop small in Glen Rose. What we do have is just really unique finds, a lot of owner-operated businesses.”

She said that the town’s unique food choices, shopping and lodging make that possible.

“So we just encourage people to kind of say no to the hustle and bustle, say no to the crazy, and really just (have an) experience with their family that they can cherish for years to come,” she said.