Give a toy and get “lit-up” for a ride in the inaugural Christmas Lights Parade. Any new toy is the admission price for floats of the first night parade in Bridge City. The event is hosted by the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, set for Dec. 5.

The parade rolls out at 6 p.m. and will proceed from First Baptist Church down West Roundbunch Road to Bridge City Intermediate School as in recent years. Plans for a Texas Avenue procession were scrubbed by the state Department of Transportation this week.

Toys will go to needy children in the Bridge City/Orangefield areas through the Bridge City-Orangefield Ministerial Alliance.

According to Sheryl Bolton, director of the alliance, many families are still struggling from Hurricane Ike and unemployment.

“We have an unprecedented 700 children who are in need this Christmas season,” Bolton said.

The alliance is a cooperative effort of Bridge City and Orangefield congregations to assist local families. Bolton says there is a great need for toys, shoes and clothing.

“This is a great opportunity for us to help out the alliance toy drive,” said Donna Scales, chairwoman for the parade. “What a better entry fee than a toy for a child.”

According to Scales, the chamber plans a day-long celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the organization. It promotes local commerce with a Hometown Holiday Shopping Spree.

The event includes classic cars at area businesses. Participating merchants plan one-day sales. And yes – there is a Santa.

Christmas portraits with Santa Claus will be made by professional photographer Adrienne Colletti at the Prairie View teacherage building that houses the chamber offices, 150 W. Roundbunch.
Proceeds help fund the chamber and begins at 1 p.m.

 the day, smoked hot links and boudain will be sold starting at 11 a.m.

Fiftieth anniversary commemorative coffee mugs that display the parade’s full color emblem will also be sold. The supply was intentionally limited to just 300. Cost is $9 each or $17.50 a pair. The chamber is now taking pre-orders.

Marshalling the yuletide parade are the 2009 state champion Bridge City Little League All-Star baseball team. The team won the hearts of residents when the 12-year old boys advanced to the final game of the Southwest Regional tournament ending the season just one game away from the Little League World Series. Their exploits where televised worldwide on ESPN. The team was coached by Ronnie Shugart, Mark Watts and Mike Taylor.

Under the sparkle of Christmas lights the procession will feature the Bridge City and Orangefield marching bands, cheerleaders, and dance and drill teams, the Strutters and Sophisticats; 2008 Citizen of the Year Mayor Kirk Roccaforte and 2008 Business of the Year Hopper Lumber Co. (Lee and Connie Angelle).

The main attraction for the kids is the annual appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus. It is fitting that Don and Angie Breaux carry on the longtime family tradition of Leroy and Dorothy Breaux. 

“We wanted to do something special for everyone this year,” Scales said, “This is like the first real Christmas we have had since Hurricane Ike. For most of us – last holiday season is kind of a blur.

This Christmas is different. We’ve come a long way in a short time and we want to celebrate that.”

Parade entries will be judged in three best decorated categories; float, car/truck and walker.

All entries must be adorned in Christmas lighting. Applications can be obtained at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce and participating locations. For more information, call Evelyn Brandon, 735-5671.

Media contact: Donna Scales, 779-0281.