The Waxahachie Rodeo Arena is starting a new tradition this year by hosting a Christmas lighting contest called “Arena of Lights.” The public is invited out to participate in the event at the rodeo complex by decorating a float for the stationary parade on Saturday Dec. 15.

“We have talked about increasing awareness and trying to get the word out about our arena. We thought about having a hay ride and a Christmas display at the arena,” Parks and Recreation Director John Smith said. “The hay ride is going to start in front of Boyce Feed and Gain and will travel up Mathew Street circle around the arena and then come back down. Hayrides are kind of a dying art. I don’t remember being on a hayride since I was a little kid.”

Smith said the hayride will travel around the inside of the arena to view the stationary floats that will be lit up inside. The event will start at 6 p.m. and people who want to participate in the event can start setting up their floats at 1 p.m. People can decorate tractors, trailers and truck with lights and other Christmas themed décor for the event. The Rodeo Board can reject any entry if they feel that it is not appropriate.  Judging of the floats will take place at 5:30 p.m.  

First and second place winners of the best float contest will be awarded trophies.

The cost of the hayride is  $1 per person, which goes toward the marketing and maintenance of the arena or a donation of canned goods that will go to Waxahachie Care. The parade entry fee to enter float is $25, which goes toward the marketing and maintenance of the arena.  

The entry fee can be reduced to $20 with the donation of a new unwrapped toy that will go the Waxahachie Fire Department’s “Toys for Kids” toy drive. All entries must have adult supervision; power to floats has to be provided by the participant, specialty or promotional items are not allowed to be handed out, no alcoholic is allowed.

Rodeo board member Mike Lincoln wants to encourage people to come out and bring their children to this event that will provide a fun atmosphere and environment to make new holiday memories. Applications for the stationary parade can be picked up at the Parks and Recreation building located at 401 S. Elm or download from the city’s website at

For more information about the event, contact Smith at the Parks and Recreation Department at 972-937-7330 ext. 181.

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