By CARLOS GONZALES
Special to the Parade
The City of San Benito will be holding more events this year in hopes to spread Christmas spirit throughout the city. On Saturday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m., a Community Christmas Event will be held at the W.H. Heavin Amphitheater, where local school choirs will perform Christmas tunes for the public to enjoy. The trail has also been decorated with festive Christmas lights adorned to the trees and amphitheater.
The following week from Dec. 8-11, the San Benito Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a four-day Christmas Carnival at the Plaza de San Benito for the community to enjoy games, refreshments, and rides.
Then there’s the grand daddy of them all, the San Benito Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. The longest lighted street parade in South Texas and sponsored by the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, the parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Marching groups, novelty and religious themed floats will be featured in the parade through downtown San Benito. For more information or to register, call the Chamber of Commerce at (956) 399-5321.
“I think it’s great for the community,” said Mayor Joe Hernandez on upcoming Christmas events. “I’m really happy and it’s that time for a friendly environment for everybody to appreciate each other.”
On Dec. 13, the San Benito Chamber of Commerce Pride Committee will hold its annual Prides Lights Contest, in which three homes and as many businesses will be judged for their Christmas lighting displays and awarded.
Finally, on Dec. 18, the First United Methodist Church of San Benito will hold its annual Christmas Cantata, where people can enjoy a mix of traditional gospel, as well as contemporary music.
The community is also doing its part. For instance, local educator Mary Lou Saldaña has already begun her “Christmas Hugs” campaign, in which she encourages the public to donate blankets, jackets, sweaters, and baby apparel. Saldaña then donates the clothes to the San Benito Food Pantry to be distributed to the less fortunate.
Also, the American Military Support (AMS), a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care (or quality of life) packages to local troops stationed overseas, is currently taking tax-deductable donations for Operation: RGV Christmas Care Packages. Items collected in the campaign will be sent to Valley soldiers stationed overseas.
The mayor encourages people to donate to the AMS campaign.
“It just goes to show that they [the troops] will never be forgotten,” said Hernandez, “and to make sure they know we are grateful for everything they do.”