Main Street Texarkana is not letting the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on the Christmas spirit. Despite having to pause the traditional Downtown Christmas Parade, the town still wants residents to have a holly, jolly Christmas.
Main Street Texarkana executive director, Ina McDowell wants residents to know that there are many other amazing things that are still coming up. She starts by announcing that new businesses will be having an open house this weekend in the downtown area. Additionally, McDowell wanted to remind residents about Second Saturday Trade Days, an open-air market held on the second Saturday of each month at the historic 1894 Building in downtown Texarkana.
“They have a nutcracker display of over 200 nutcrackers, and they are so neat,” says McDowell, of this weekend’s Second Saturday Trade Day. “They usually have vendors and a variety of artists that are there as well,” she adds.
There are also a few holiday events coming up at the Perot Theater, including Christmas at the Perot by the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra that will take place this coming Sunday, December 13, as well as a movie showing called Holiday Traditions on Saturday, December 19. Ina McDowell describes Holiday Traditions as a new and fun event. “This was new last year,” she said before adding, “They show family movies. This year they are going to be playing, of course, the traditional ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, but they’re also showing three different Disney movies too.”
Because of the construction in the areas around the Hotel Grim and at the courthouse, a lot of things have been moved onto broad street. McDowell noted that the big Christmas tree that the city normally has at the courthouse is now in front of Texas City Hall, and she encourages residents to venture downtown to see how the area has been decorated and to support local businesses. “It has been hard with some of the events that have had to be canceled like the parade, that was just really disappointing, but there’s still a lot for people to see and do downtown,” McDowell said.
“The downtown businesses more than ever are decorating their storefronts,” she adds. ”By this Friday, we’re supposed to have all the storefront windows completed being decorated and it’s actually a competition that we started but then had to delay our deadline, but we’re going to be giving prizes for the best-decorated windows and people really have tried to pull together and decorate their windows this year just so that people know they can come downtown, there’s a familiar place and it’s just bright and festive and just gives you an overall good feeling as a community,” she added.
According to McDowell, Crossties has a walk-through Christmas tree display. Local businesses sponsored trees and decorated them. She says they’re all fresh, live trees instead of artificial and you truly can just drive by and see that and enjoy it or you can go in, for a possible admission fee.
McDowell also said that every year, Main street creates a Christmas ornament of a downtown building. The ornaments for the 2020 year will be arriving on Wednesday, December 9th. The Jameson building is the inspiration for this year’s ornament. The building was the first African American office building in Texarkana and was built during the depression. “A lot of people collect these ornaments; they’re solid pewter and we choose a building every year as the ornament,” she said.
The 2020 ornaments can be purchased at Ina McDowell’s office inside the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, at Fan Fare gifts, or at the Pleasant Grove pharmacy on Richmond Road.
McDowell encourages residents to get out and visit downtown during the holidays. “I always tout our downtown businesses and how it’s just so important to support our local businesses and the restaurants, who are all doing carry out and limited seating for those that do want to dine in, but there’s just still a lot to see and we all need to pull together especially in this time,” she said.
Local businesses are following strict safety protocols including limiting the amount of people inside a store, providing disinfectant products for customers and requiring customers to wear masks.
Residents can safely admire downtown’s Christmas displays from the comfort of their own vehicles.