The Christmas celebrations begin in earnest this week in Carthage and surrounding Panola County.
The following is a list of planned events.
Local Parades, Gary ISD Festival of Lights
Carthage’s Christmas parade is Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. The annual parade travels down West Panola Street and around Anderson Park in downtown Carthage. This year’s theme is “Light Up Carthage,” and organizers plan to light up the Square that night.
Beckville’s Christmas parade is Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in downtown. The parade begins at R.C. Beauchamp Stadium and ends at Beckville City Hall. This year’s theme is “Light Up Christmas.”
Gary ISD’s Festival of Lights is Saturday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gary High School, 132 Bobcat Trail. Food and craft booths will be available for the public’s enjoyment, as well as local live entertainment on the Christmas Stage. The festival also offers a Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off event.
In addition to the festivities in the high school, there will be a light display. As they have done each year, the Gary ISD Student Council will kick off the Christmas Season by decorating the Gary City Square. Thousands of twinkling lights and 12 8-foot angels will line the square. Each of these angels have been donated in honor of or in memory of a loved one. Christmas scenes and a life-size Nativity scene will light up at approximately 4 p.m. on the day of the festival and be on display for surrounding communities to enjoy through early January.
Things kick off in downtown Carthage on Saturday, Nov. 30 with holiday shopping, a screening of “The Santa Clause” and a Dr. Seuss-themed event that also includes a kazoo band.
A Carthage Kazoo-sical Christmas takes place at noon in Anderson Park, with Sunflower Mercantile inviting the community to join in for a “Christmas Hum-A-Long” to usher in the season on the town square. There will be free kazoos for participants and a best “Who-ville” Costume Contest with three age categories: Children (infant to fifth grade), Youth (grades sixth-twelfth) and Adult. Local groups are encouraged to participate.
Also that day, downtown groups are planning a Holiday Pop-Up Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a screening of “The Santa Clause” at 2 p.m. at the Esquire Theater. Babysitting will be available for children 7 and up so parents can do holiday shopping. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6.
Panola College will host its Christmas in Carthage event from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Carthage Civic Center, 1702 S. Adams St. This annual celebration of all things Christmas will feature the Panola College Concert Band, Panola College Jazz Band, Panola College Chorale, the Panola Pipers, Panola Honor Choir, Bulldog Belles, dancers from Rowe Performing Arts, and other performers. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, contact Dwaine Hubbard, Panola College band director, at email@example.com or call (903) 693-2027.
The Sammy Brown Library is planning at least two Christmas craft sessions. Pre-registration is required so they can provide the needed supplies. A crafting class will be held Thursday, Dec. 5. Cookies for Santa will be Dec. 23, where children will decorate three cookies to take home for Santa. Call (903) 693-6741.
Martin Creek Lake State Park hosts “Christmas in the Piney Woods” on Friday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Bring the kids to visit with Santa “by the fire” at the Bee Tree Loop. Campers will decorate their campsites for the holidays. Hot chocolate and apple cider will be served at the Group Picnic Pavilion. Entry fees are $3 for adults (13 years or older) and free for kids 12 and under. Entry fees will be waived for those who bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to the local Operation Blue Santa.
Hawthorn Funeral Home hosts its annual Service of Remembrance at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 for families to gather and honor those who have died this year.
The Carthage Rotary Club’s Holiday Color Run is 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Fees are $40 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under during late registration. For more information, visit the Carthage Rotary Club’s Facebook page.
Gary ISD hosts their annual Breakfast with Santa event from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14. Each child will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Santa, write letters to Santa, take part in a Christmas activity and listen to “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased by PayPay-ing Bobcats@garyisd.org or by contacting Heather Ritter at (903) 685-2291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents not eating breakfast do not need to buy a ticket. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time.
The Merket Christmas Tree Farm is officially open at 785 FM 1794 in Beckville. Hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the Christmas season. Santa will be visiting every Saturday.
The Carthage Book Club will present its annual Christmas Home Tour from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. The tour showcases a variety of Panola County homes. Tickets are $10 a person and can be bought from any member of the book club or at the door of any of the houses in the tour or at Winkler Place on the day of the event. Proceeds from the home tour support the Book Club’s civic projects. The Tour of Homes headquarters will be at Winkler Place, 513 N. Adams St. in Carthage. Between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., guests will enjoy refreshments, music and a raffle drawing for a handmade Santa.
A “Christmas in Clayton” event is planned 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Clayton Community Center at the intersection of Texas 315 and County Road 152 in Clayton. The Clayton Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will host a Christmas Holiday shopping event, where local vendors and artists will be selling their wares.
Deadwood, Galloway and Logan churches are coming together to host children’s games, a Christmas Nativity Hayride and appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus with “Christmas in the Country” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Deadwood United Methodist Church, 744 CR 445 just east of FM 31 South in Deadwood.