With three fun-filled days planned ahead, the city of Seguin is ready to welcome swarms of folks to take a stroll downtown.
Beginning Thursday and lasting through Saturday, the city will host the annual Holiday Stroll, Kyle Kramm, Seguin Main Street and Convention and Visitor Bureau director, said. The three days chocked full of fun will also serve a purpose, he said.
“It’s just to get all of Seguin into the holiday spirit,” Kramm said. “It’s a great time of year, and we should really get out and celebrate.”
Holiday Stroll kicks off 6:30 p.m. Thursday with the lighted Christmas parade, which starts at the intersection of Austin and College streets. The procession heads south on Austin and ends at Central Park with 77 registered entries this year, Kramm said. Floats, marching bands and a variety of other entries will parade down Austin Street, he said, and all of them adorned in holiday lights.
To lead the parade, Seguin Mayor Don Keil chose retiring City Manager Doug Faseler as this year’s grand marshal.
Faseler and his wife Laura will ride with the mayor and his wife Marty on a horse-drawn carriage at the front of the parade.
“As soon as Doug announced his retirement, and I got over my disappointment, I started thinking about what we could do to honor him for his service,” Keil said. “No one has done more in the last two decades to improve this city than Doug Faseler. Honoring him as grand marshal is the least we can do and is a timely and wonderful way for the whole city to say thanks to Doug for a job well done.”
The final float will bring the big man himself to Seguin, Kramm said.
“The very last parade float will be, of course, Santa Claus making his way into town,” the CVB director said. “He normally rides in a fire truck.”
Following Santa’s appearance, the mayor will lead a countdown before flipping the switch to illuminate the tree lights in Central Park, a Christmas tree and other lights in the park, Kramm said.
“The high school band will perform some songs as well, and Santa will stick around to take photos with families, kids, anyone of all ages,” Kramm said. “The parade will probably be over about 7:30, and Santa will be in the park until about 8:30.”
Faseler will help Keil with the count down and the tree lighting, said Lindsay Hajek, recreation superintendent for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. She agreed that choosing him as grand marshal provides a worthy send-off for Faseler.
Keil will announce the winners of a tree-decorating contest, and guests will be able to enjoy food from the many nonprofit vendors selling everything from hamburgers to baked goods to hot chocolate and more, Hajek said.
“Everybody should come out because it is just a great coming together as a community and for celebrating the season,” she said. “We’re kicking off the holiday season. There’s sure to be a good time for everybody.”
Following up Thursday’s events will be Friday’s Ninth Annual Sip’n Stroll, Kramm said. For this night, festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and continue until about 7:30 p.m. around downtown Seguin.
Downtown merchants stay open late, serving homemade hot chocolate. Visitors are encouraged to buy the 2019 Sip’n Stroll mug, which sports a local artist’s painting of the city’s historic firehouse, Kramm said.
Sip’n Stroll has a contest component to it, as well. Local firefighters will judge and award bragging rights and a certificate to the best hot chocolate served at this year’s event. The 39 businesses will compete in categories for best milk chocolate, best dark chocolate, best white chocolate and most unique hot chocolate, Kramm said.
“In addition to those categories, we also have a people’s choice,” he said. “The general public will be able to go online and take a survey where they’ll choose their favorite.”
Some of the hot chocolate concoctions are mixed with alcohol, but each business that serves a leaded variation must offer a non-alcoholic version for children, Kramm said.
He said the night will include wagon rides offered for a fee, more photos with Santa, dance performances and more. Some streets will close to traffic, but Austin and Court streets will remain open, Kramm said.
Businesses will offer different activities inside their stores downtown, he said.
“We don’t want people staying in Central Park; we want them to explore downtown,” Kramm said. “We also will have snow machines in Central Park as well. We will have some snow.”
There will be three events held Saturday, he said.
The day starts at 8:30 a.m. with the Jingle Bell 5K in Central Park. Participants will run the Walnut Springs Trail and finish back at Central Park, Kramm said. Registration will be available the morning of the race for a $25 fee.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is the North Pole Stroll. During the event, Central Park is the site of a variety of children’s activities, including pictures with Santa, writing letters to Santa, decorating cookies and ornaments, making reindeer food and more, Kramm said.
“The kids can make little packets of reindeer food and leave them out for the deer on Christmas Eve,” he said.
Elementary school choirs and the junior high school band will perform Christmas tunes, Kramm said.
Then, to wrap up the Holiday Stroll, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Conservation Society hosts its annual Holiday Home Tour.
For a detailed listing of all of the events, visit seguintexas.gov/holidaystroll.
Most of the proceeds from the events will support the Downtown Business Alliance, Kramm said. That means helping to promote downtown, helping with downtown beautification projects, and more. Participating nonprofit organizations also will reap financial benefits from the events, he said.
It all goes to help Seguin, Kramm said.
“The hope is people are going to come out for Sip’n Stroll or any of our other special events we hold, and they’re going to find something they didn’t know was in downtown Seguin before,” he said, “(and) that’s going to keep them coming back.”