By Mollie LaSalle
WOODVILLE – Christmas in Tyler County “officially” got started Friday evening, with the annual Christmas on the square events. Tyler County Chamber of Commerce president Cathy Bennett kicked off the celebration welcoming everyone, and gave recognition to Woodville Police chief Mike McCulley, Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and everyone involved for bringing the event together.
The crowd was treated to Christmas music by area high school bands before the ceremony began, and the Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church, of Warren sang several traditional Christmas songs.
Bennett recognized several dignitaries from around the county. County Judge Milton Powers; Joe Blacksher, Doug Hughes, Mike Marshall, and Buck Hudson, commissioners of Precinct one, two, three, and four, respectively; Amy Bythewood, mayor of Woodville, Wendy Bendy, representing Colmesneil, mayor pro-tem of Chester, Bryan Davis, Ivanhoe mayor, Skip Blackstone, and Billy Read, and Jeff Burnthorn, representing Warren and Spurger.
Rhonda Bigby, of Colmesneil, took the stage to sing “Here Comes Santa Claus”. Before Santa arrived, the Grinch made an appearance, and attempted to steal presents, but was quickly apprehended by Woodville PD, and brought before Judge Tina Self for sentencing. The grinch agreed to do community service, and the ceremony continued. Powers introduced all the members of the Tyler County Historical Commission, and they were recognized for all their hard work in getting the courthouse restored. Santa arrived in the back of a fire truck, to everyone’s delight, and was presented a key to the county by Judge Powers.
Judge Powers declared that it was “Christmas Time in Tyler County”, the switch was turned on, and the courthouse came alive in beautiful lights.
Santa then began taking photos with the children, and the evening’s festivities were under way. A brief rainstorm threatened to put a damper on things, but the evening was declared a success from all who attended.
Saturday brought round two of Christmas activities, beginning with the annual Rotary “Breakfast with Santa” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The second annual “Jolly Jeep Jingle” contest was held around the courthouse square, and the Woodville Methodist Church had their annual cookie market that afternoon. The church baked and sold more than 3,000 cookies within 30 minutes.
Victory Camp Colmesneil hosted their annual “Birthday Party for Jesus” on Saturday afternoon and welcomed 65 children. Activities included fishing, horseback riding, face painting, and the reason for the season, celebrating Jesus’s birthday.
Heritage Village wrapped up the weekend’s activities with the annual Twilight Tour. The events began at 6 p.m. The children from St. Paul’s Episcopal School once again entertained the crowd, under the direction of Sharon Brown. The youngsters performed all the classics, including, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and “Frosty the Snowman”. Next up on the village stage was the Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church Choir of Warren with their selections of Christmas carols.
The evening’s activities ended with a service at the Cherokee Church. The weather was beautiful, and the village was beautifully decorated for the holiday season.