The city of Bullard and its streets were filled with the magic and spirit of Christmas, as a record-breaking number of Bullard and East Texas residents gathered in the downtown area for the annual Bullard Christmas Parade and third annual Bullard Christmas Kickoff, held Wednesday, Dec. 6.
After being rescheduled due to thunderstorms that were forecasted earlier in the week, the event saw over 2,500 children and parents converge on the downtown Bullard area to officially welcome in the Christmas season and engage in several new activities this year.
“Without a doubt, I believe this was the biggest Christmas Kickoff we’ve had, in terms of attendance,” said Bullard Mayor Pam Frederick. “It was really exciting to see so many people in and around the city of Bullard come out and enjoy this event together. You can really feel the Christmas spirit at an event like this, and it makes me very proud of my city.”
Frederick compared and contrasted the way Christmas events were previously handled in the city of Bullard compared to this year’s event, citing an uptick in participation and size.
“The Christmas parade used to go down to the old tennis courts near the Bullard Kids Park, and we’d probably have just 100 people come out,” said Frederick. “Now, with the way this event has been managed in recent years, it has grown to where we have thousands of people line the streets to watch the parade, as well as participate in the Christmas activities throughout the day. It’s a huge deal now, and it really brings our city’s motto come to life: ‘Where a small town becomes your hometown.’”
Events for attendees at the Bullard Christmas Kick-Off event included an inflatable zip line, snow sled hill, bounce houses, snow play area, and a chance for children of all ages to have a one-on-one audience with Santa Claus, the jolly Christmas elf himself, whom Frederick said always pays a special visit to the city.
“Santa’s had this day circled on his calendar since last year’s event,” said Frederick. “He comes to Bullard each year to hear from the well-mannered and amazing children we have in our community, and we all know Bullard has a big section reserved on Santa’s Nice List. It’s a great opportunity for parents who may be busy around this year to let their children tell Santa what they want for Christmas and experience that Christmas magic.”
Businesses and members of the Bullard community were also able to showcase their holiday cheer during the day’s festivities by participating in the Bullard Christmas Kick-Off Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.
The lights and ornaments surrounding the Christmas tree entries provided an atmosphere of Christmas awe and wonder in the middle of the event’s festivities for the young and the young-at-heart.
According to Patty Taylor, sponsor for the Bullard Christmas Kick-Off Christmas Tree Decorating Contest, the city’s small-town atmosphere assisted in making the event successful for the third consecutive year.
“‘Tis the season to share,” said Taylor. “It’s easy to lose track of the true joy of living in a small community. I’m proud that we all came together to make this a great successful event. It was definitely cold, but it felt like Christmas. My hope was for everyone who attended to feel the joy of the Christmas season.”
The 2017 Bullard Christmas Kickoff event also featured a number of other Christmas-themed opportunities for attendees, including perusing tables of local vendors in the event’s Mistletoe Market, free cookies and hot chocolate served by City of Bullard leaders, live music, and food trucks.
Also included in the events of the day was the annual Bullard Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Bullard Area Chamber of Commerce.
Entries in the 2017 Bullard Christmas Parade included floats by local churches, as well as local businesses, organizations, and politicians running for office in both Cherokee and Smith Counties in upcoming elections. The parade also included representatives of the City of Bullard, including Bullard Mayor Frederick, Mayor Pro Tem Shirley Coe, and Councilmember Mark Anderson.
Also involved in the parade were several student organizations from Bullard ISD, including the award-winning Bullard Belles drill team, Bullard Middle School twirlers, Bullard High School Band, and BHS junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders and football team members.
According to Darla Lyons, organizer for the Bullard Christmas Parade this year, the event brought about community cooperation, as well as enthusiasm and Christmas spirit, making the parade a perfect fit for a small town like Bullard.
“Tonight was a great night for a parade,” said Lyons. “We had great weather and lots of cooperation between participants, city leaders, and the chamber. It was a great turnout filled with a lot of enthusiasm and Christmas spirit, and I believe it was the most successful Christmas parade we’ve had in a long time. It definitely helped to usher in the Christmas spirit into the city of Bullard and was just a great way to start the holiday season.”
Organizations and groups receiving prizes for their entries in the annual Bullard Christmas Parade included Cherokee County Electric Cooperative, named Most Original; the Bullard Belles officers, named Most Beautiful; James Carter for Judge, named Most Friendliest; Vernan Rivers’ Christmas trike diorama, named Most Traditional; Bullard First United Methodist Church’s Christmas train, named Most Religious; Bullard Fire Department, named First Place Overall; Cub Scout Pack No. 366, named Second Place Overall; and Barbara Graham’s Girl Scouts, named Third Place Overall.
Sponsors for the 2017 Bullard Christmas Kickoff and Bullard Christmas Parade included TransCanada, Cap-Co Engineering, and Cap-Co Construction.
“We’re thankful for everyone who came out and helped us to bring Christmas to the city of Bullard,” said Chelci Amburgy, City of Bullard Communications Director. “It’s a great opportunity for the Bullard and surrounding community to come together and celebrate Christmas together. We know we had over 2,500 attendees this year, but don’t have an official tally due to the size of the crowds. We hope to continue to make this an annual tradition in the city of Bullard and we look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s event.”