The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce will light up your holiday season with an inaugural Christmas Lights Parade set for Dec. 5. The night parade will cap off a day of festivities that include a Hometown Holiday Shopping Spree, toy drive and classic cars all over town.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. but the day’s Christmas events get “lit up” long before nightfall. Santa will make an appearance for children’s photos on the porch of the BCCC beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Orange County Community Band will also perform Christmas music there. Smoked links, boudain and cotton candy will be sold beginning at 11 a.m.

“It’s going to be so much fun,” said event chairwoman Donna Scales who came up with the night parade idea in August when she accepted the assignment. “We wanted to do something special for everyone this year since it is the first real Christmas our community has had since Hurricane Ike.”

“For most of us, last Christmas is kind of a blur,” Scales said.

In 2008 the parade route still had remnants of debris from Hurricane Ike. Most of the Christmas lights in town were found on FEMA trailers.

“This holiday season is different,” Scales said, “We’ve come a long way in a short time and we want to celebrate that.”

The parade punctuates the 50th anniversary of the chamber

Marshaling the parade will be the 2009 state champion Bridge City Little League all-star baseball team. The team will lead the parade along the original route on south Texas Avenue (Texas 87) and exit at Canal Street. The parade will not proceed down Roundbunch.

The Hometown Holiday Shopping Spree is a big part of the yuletide event. Participating merchants in the Bridge City and Orangefield areas will be offering one-day sale events or gifts for customers who come in their doors.

“It offers our local merchants a promotion they can tie into,” Scales said, “And it gives holiday shoppers a reason to shop at home this Christmas season.”

In addition, classic cars provided by the Southeast Texas Cruisers will be on display at business locations all over town.

The event also is designed to assist the Bridge City-Orangefield Ministerial Alliance by asking for one new toy as entry fee for the parade. The chamber will donate the toy to the Ministerial Alliance’s annual Christmas toy drive.

All floats are required to have Christmas lighting and will be judged in three best decorated categories; car/truck, float or walkers. The judge’s booth will be at Cardinal Square Shopping Center. Parade watchers may assemble on either side of Texas Avenue. Security will be provided by the City of Bridge City and assisting agencies.

The Bridge City Little League 12-year old all-stars advanced to the final game of the Southwestern Regional tournament last August before falling to San Antonio one game away from the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. The game was televised on ESPN.

“It’s a great honor to be able to start  the holiday season and end the year as the 50th Anniversary BC Christmas Parade marshals,” Coach Ronnie Shugart said, “It is an honor usually reserved for distinguished individuals and to be even considered is humbling.”
“This has been a year that we’ll always remember,” he said, “The boys had some questions as to what a parade marshal actually is. I told them I really don’t know. Smile and wave a lot, I guess.”

Assistant coaches with Shugart are Mark Watts and Mike Taylor.

Ushering in the parade will be Bridge City Police Chief Paul Davis and Precinct 3 Constable Mark Philpott. Also up front will be the 2008 Citizen of the Year, Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, and 2008 Business of the Year, Hopper Lumber Co. (Lee and Connie Angelle).

As tradition would have it, in the 50th year of the chamber, Don and Angie Breaux will perform as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The couple assume the duties previously held by Leroy and Dorothy Breaux who were Mr. and Mrs. Clause for the past 20 years.

The parade will also feature performances by both Bridge City and Orangefield marching bands, including cheerleaders and drill and dance squads – the Strutters and Sophisticats. 

Entry applications, rules and guidelines are available now at the Chamber office, 150 W. Roundbunch. Also at Remis, Megan Luxich at Total Impressions, Classy Peacock, Alyson Jon Interiors, Curls Liquor Store, Trophies by Lee, Debbie’s Gold Gem, Luv’s Lingerie, Cajun Corner Furniture and Movers and Bette’s Gift Shop.