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Christmas celebration draws mixed response

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Posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 12:00 pm

Changes in this year’s Christmas celebration in downtown Bandera did not meet with everyone’s approval, but merchants seemed to be pleased with the results which left the head of the Bandera Business Association, which put on the celebration, upbeat as well.

“All the merchants that I know of were happy,” said business association President Julie Conrad.  “It’s all been positive. . . I think it turned out really well.”

Glen McComb, who owns the Bandera General Store, said the decision to move the Christmas parade from Friday night to Saturday morning produced much better business for merchants because shoppers got out Friday for Christmas festivities organized on the courthouse lawn and returned Saturday for the parade.

 “I’d give it a ‘B’,” said McComb.  “It was very pleasant.  Everyone enjoyed it.”

But changes in this year’s celebration, including a steep reduction in the programming in Bandera City Park along the Medina River and a decision not to hold a lighted, night parade, drew criticism from some visitors.

Edie Moore was glad to have extra hours to shop at the downtown stores on the first night of the celebration on Friday, Dec. 1, but she felt a night parade should be part of the festivities.

“It would bring lots more people out,” she said.

Pam Joyce, from San Antonio, said she was sad that a living nativity scene was not presented along the river like it has been in years past.  But Joyce said she and her husband were planning to return to downtown Bandera for the parade on Saturday.

“We love it here. It’s so friendly,” said Joyce.

Becky Arellano, who came with family and friends from Houston to take part in the Bandera festivities, said she was sorry that not many lights had been installed along the river like they normally are.  She said she had hoped to see a night parade this year but did not think that there was much difference between a day or night parade.

Stephen Burgess said a daytime Christmas parade would be fine, but the floats in the parade need to be lighted for the season and more music should be part of the parade.

“It was not as festive as last year,” he said.

Changes were made this year to cut costs and to generate more business for merchants, which appeared to have occurred based on the number of tickets businesses provided shoppers for making purchases, said Conrad.

Those tickets were entered into a prize drawing by the business association that drew a large crowd on Saturday, Dec. 2.  The winning ticketholders were Kristi Sparks, who claimed a $300 prize, Michelle Dye, who received a $200 prize, and Natalie Shirley, who claimed a $100 prize.

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