HILLSBORO, Texas (November 21, 2014) —  The Hillsboro Main Street program, in partnership with the local Optimist Club, today announced that a new, free admission, holiday event, “Christmas on Elm,” will include activites for families across Central and North Texas. On December 6, the public is invited to attend a parade, enjoy shopping at local businesses, explore outdoor vendor booths with crafts, to purchase seasonal food and drinks, meet Christmas characters in-costume, and take part in a lighting ceremony for a 24-foot tree in front of the courthouse. “Christmas on Elm” will take place Saturday, December 6, from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. in historic downtown Hillsboro, around the county courthouse and along Elm Street.

The theme of this year’s Christmas on Elm is “A Texas Christmas in the Hill Country,” and local businesses and residents are encouraged to take part in the yard decoration contest to kick off the festivities, with judging at noon on December 5. The winter celebration will continue at 10:00 a.m. on December 6, with the following activities:

10:00 a.m. - Annual Hillsboro Christmas Parade, with support and organization provided by the Hillsboro Optimist Club.

11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Special holiday deals at local Hillsboro downtown businesses.

12:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Holiday vendor market with crafts, food and more on Elm Street.

12:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Family Christmas portraits on the courthouse square, (by reservation).

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Children can sit on the laps of Santa and Los Tres Reyes Magos, (The Three Wisemen) share Christmas wishes, and take photos.

4:30 p.m. - Christmas Character Costume Contest judging.

5:50 p.m. - Lighting ceremony of 24-foot Christmas tree at courthouse square.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Carriage rides through decorated historic homes district.

“For years Hillsboro has hosted a Christmas parade,” said Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce Director Vicki Hidde. “This year, we wanted to take it up a notch by partnering with the Optimist Club to expand the event to include shopping and holiday traditions in a way that will bring families to Hillsboro from all over Central Texas.”

“Money raised from the $10 fee for parade entry will go towards food pantry purchases for the Hillsboro Interfaith Ministry. Children are also encouraged to bring toys to donate to the Hillsboro Optimist Club’s Christmas for Kids program,” explained Main Street program employee Natalie Meeks. “All funds and donations and raised through Christmas on Elm activities will go toward repairing or purchasing Christmas decorations to revive our longstanding tradition of a beautiful holiday atmosphere in downtown Hillsboro.”

About Hillsboro’s Main Street Program and Optimist Club

Hillsboro Main Street Program is a nonprofit organization partnered with a national grant system aimed at revitalizing historic downtowns across the United States. In addition to Christmas on Elm, this Central Texas group also organizes the Hillsboro Cotton Pickin’ Fair each year to celebrate the agricultural roots of Hill County. Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local clubs, whose members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, their communities, and themselves. For several years the Hillsboro Optimist Club, in coordination with the city’s Christmas parade, has gathered toys to give underprivileged-area children.