Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
BRIDGE CITY —
A popular holiday tradition will return for its fifth year this December.
The fifth annual Bridge City and Orangefield Christmas Night Parade will take place at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. The parade will begin in front of First Baptist Church on West Roundbunch Road near Texas Avenue and conclude at Bridge City Intermediate School on West Roundbunch near FM 408.
The parade has grown by leaps and bounds since its first year and is a favorite for area children and families as numerous businesses, civic organizations, church and school groups participate in highly decorative event. Along with lighted floats and vehicles, there are marching bands and drill teams, golf carts, fire trucks and the much anticipated appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“This parade has really pulled our community together since Hurricane Ike,” said Lucy Fields, parade chairperson. “It gives us something to look forward to every year, and it’s a great way for all of us to come together and celebrate the holiday season.”
As always, parade organizers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys which will be given to needy children for Christmas. Donations are being accepted for children ages infant through fifth grade. In 2012, the Bridge City-Orangefield Ministerial Alliance delivered approximately 600 gifts to area children and want to do even better this year.
People attending the parade may donate new toys to vehicles from Cecil Atkisson Dodge Jeep Ram Chrysler, David Self Ford and Granger Chevrolet which will be located at the staging area prior to the start of the parade. A donation box is also located at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce office, 150 W. Roundbunch in Bridge City. Donations are accepted from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
New, unwrapped toys are collected from the parade participants as well, in lieu of an entry fee.
“Everyone feels like they are a big part of helping out needy children when they donate new toys for the Ministerial Alliance,” Fields added. “Not only due the parade participants donate and the citizens, but several of our area businesses bring bags of toys to be donated.”
William “Bill” Smith will be the Parade Marshal this year. Smith opened Central Office Supply in Bridge City in 1975. The business remains a mainstay of the community and is currently under the operation of Smith’s grandson, Eric Andrus.
Smith, a key figure in Bridge City for many years, has served his community not only as a business-owner, but also as a city councilman. He was selected as the 1996 Citizen of the Year for his dedication to his community, and now he can add Parade Marshal to his list of credentials.
“Mr. Smith has been part of the community and the chamber of commerce for many years,” Fields said. “He is the neatest guy. He loves being part of the community, and we appreciate him for that. This is a way for us to honor him and thank him for those years of support.”
Fields said the parade may be less than a month away, but the interest is already there from the community and surrounding area.
“We have had a lot of phone calls from people and businesses interested in being part of our parade this year,” she continued. “We hope to have a lot of participants this year and make it our biggest parade and most successful toy drive ever.”
The chamber is still accepting applications for entries into the parade. Contact the chamber office email@example.com or at 409-735-5671 for applications or information.