Waxahachie will kick off the Christmas season this Saturday with the annual lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. The tree lighting event will take place from 6–9 p.m. around the historic Ellis County Courthouse located on Main Street.

“We are going to have our community tree lighting on Saturday. This is a fun community activity. It is a great way for the community to kick off the holiday season together and really come together,” Downtown Development Director Anita Williamson said. “The downtown merchants will be open late that night for extended holiday shopping. So if there is something that you did not get during small business Saturday that day you will be able to pick it up that night.”

Santa Claus will make his appearance to greet the crowd at about 7 p.m. He will arrive in downtown on board a fire truck.

After greeting the crowd Santa and Mayor Kevin Strength will then light the city’s Christmas tree on the courthouse lawn.

“I hope that everyone comes out and sees the tree lighting to get into the spirit of the holidays. We are fortunate to live in a city like this free and able to celebrate religious freedoms,” Strength said. “An event like this brings everyone together, like one big family. It is a time of year that we appreciate what we have and look forward to the future. It is just a coming together of the community.”

Music will be supplied by a disc jockey. There will also be children’s activities, which include pony rides, a petting zoo and free kiddy train rides sponsored by Citizens National Bank. Santa will be available for pictures following the tree lighting.

“We will be taking pictures with Santa in the downtown pocket park. It is a fundraiser for the Downtown Merchants Association,” Williamson said. “It costs $5 for your picture to be made with Santa and you get a printed copy in a photo holder. This is the only time that the downtown merchants are doing pictures with Santa.”

Williamson said that the merchants association uses the funds raised from photos with Santa to fund improvement projects in downtown.

Williamson added she is looking for someone to provide cocoa and coffee for the event. If any non-profit organization is interested to use this as an opportunity to raise some funds for their group, she said she would be glad to provide them with the opportunity. Last year, the event saw about 700 people in attendance.

The Historic Ellis County Courthouse is located at 101 W. Main St.