Christmas in Orangefield, the return of tradition
The Orangefield Cormier Museum is working hard to revive a long standing Christmas tradition in Orangefield: the relighting of an oil derrick.
In the past, before hurricanes and other problems, driving through Orangefield at the Christmas season there would be an oil derrick lit from the ground to the rig top with bright Christmas lights and maybe even a Santa Claus either on the derrick top or on the “walking beam.”
This year, Bobby Cormier will loan a portable 90 foot rig to the Orangefied Cormier Museum to be rigged with lights at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. The reenactment of the lighting will kick off the “Christmas in Orangefield Festival.”
The festival will begin with a Christmas parade at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. Following the parade the festival booths will be open and the activities will commence.
“We want to bring back to Orangefield a little bit of what Christmas was like in years past when there would be Christmas lights on the oil derricks,” Harvey Wilson, museum staff member said. “In addition to being a celebration, this will be a fundraiser for the relocation of an oil rig to the museum grounds.”
There are currently two derricks left in the oil field and the museum has graciously been given both of them to relocate to the museum.
At this time, the 808 U.S. Army Engineer group has volunteered to move one of the derricks. The fundraiser will raise money to purchase the foundation for the derrick the Army Engineer group will come back to move the derrick. If the funds can be raised, this project can be in approximately six months.
“The festival is to be a major fundraiser for the derrick relocation project,” Wilson said. “There will be food booths, craft booths, face painting, a cake sale and a petting zoo, Uncle Jesse’s Farm, sponsored by the Orangefield High School FFA.”
Later Saturday there will also be a Civil War reenactment.
One activity that is planned for Friday night in addition to the derrick lighting is an old fashion Hootenanny. The Hootenanny is planned by Linda Granger Crawford, of Dallas and is going to be more Christmas music than a normal Hootenanny.
There will be art contests for elementary, middle school and high school students as well as an invitation to all area artists to enter and display their art.
The main attraction of the festival will be the museum itself. It will be open for the public to enjoy. The museum was a gift of the Paul Cormier Family to the Orangefield Independent School District.
Anyone interested in participating as a vendor may contact Deena VanPelt at 409-988-5931. Those interested in participating in the festival or to make a donation, please contact Festival Chairman Chad Jenkins at 409-735-2034.