They’ve made their lists and checked them twice, and now the City of Lufkin, the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Pitser Garrison Convention Center are giving East Texans a huge gift – a new four-day Christmas festival in downtown Lufkin. Mark your calendars for the inaugural Yule Love Lufkin Festival, Friday Dec. 18 to Monday, Dec. 21.
“We envisioned Yule Love Lufkin as a wonderful new tradition that gives families a full weekend of fun holiday activities and shows off everything Lufkin has to offer,” said Tara Watson-Watkins, executive director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The holidays are a time for welcoming friends and family, and we want to give families in Lufkin and all the surrounding communities a great reason to stay in town and be the host this holiday season.”
Yule Love Lufkin will feature several unforgettable family activities, including a Friday night tree-lighting ceremony, outdoor Christmas movies, an ice-skating rink and a human snow globe for family Christmas photos. The events will be held in the outdoor pavilion at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center.
“It’s going to be a wonderful addition to the holiday season,” Brant Lee, director of the Pitser Garrison Convention Center, said. “People can enjoy the annual Festival of Trees at the Museum of East Texas, and then we’ll have all the new events outside. We’re really excited about the chance to showcase how flexible the Pitser Garrison Convention Center is as an event venue.”
The ice-skating rink opens at 3 p.m. on Dec. 18. Thirty-minute sessions are $10, and skates are available in size 4 kids through size 13 adults. Choir performances begin at 5, the tree lighting ceremony starts at 6, and “White Christmas” will be shown in the Pitser Garrison Convention Center’s amphitheater at 7.
On Saturday, families can have Breakfast with Santa from 8 to 10 a.m. Santa will arrive around 8:30 to greet the children and read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Tickets are $10 each and must be purchased in advance at the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau. Children under the age of 3 will be admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Ice skating begins at 10, live entertainment begins at 11, and the Gingerbread House Decorating Contest, sponsored by Grandough Baking Company, begins at noon. Teams of 2-3 may enter with a $10 entry fee, and all teams must sign up at the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau. At 5 p.m., “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” will be shown in the Pitser Garrison Convention Center’s amphitheater, followed by “Elf” at 7:30.
Yule Love Lufkin continues at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with ice skating and live entertainment. Sweet Stroll/Cake Walk competitions, sponsored by Brookshire Brothers, will take place from 4 to 5 p.m., and “Miracle on 34th Street ” will be shown in the Pitser Garrison Convention Center’s amphitheater at 5.
On Monday, Dec. 21, the ice-skating rink will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be shown in the Pitser Garrison Convention Center’s amphitheater at 5.
Yule Love Lufkin is made possible with support from Trent Ashby, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree Sponsor; Consolidated Communications, Let It Snow Globe Sponsor; Whataburger, Breakfast with Santa Sponsor; Brookshire Brothers Food and Pharmacy, Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Sponsor; Grandough Baking Company, Gingerbread House Contest Sponsor; Sound Techs, Light up the Night Sponsor; Commercial Bank of Texas, Jingle Bell Rock Sponsor; and Shafer Funeral Home, Elf Sponsor. Watson-Watkins expressed her heartfelt thanks to the organizers and sponsors for helping create the premier Christmas festival in East Texas.
“At the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we look at everything from a tourism perspective,” she said. “Studies show that most visitors to Lufkin come for leisure, and the majority of those come to visit family or friends or to attend a special event. With Yule Love Lufkin, we’ve created a fun, affordable event that appeals to both of those categories. We’re excited about this first one, and we’re looking forward to Yule Love Lufkin becoming a holiday tradition for years to come.”