Those movers and shakers behind the scenes in Anna have quite a party planned for the city in mid-December. To celebrate both Christmas and the city’s Centennial Celebration organizers have planned a festival for Saturday, Dec. 14 that will fill the streets downtown and provide fun for both young and old throughout the day.
The reason for all this celebrating? Anna is a very young-looking 100 years old as it was incorporated in 1913. Happy birthday, Anna! That second Saturday in December will also serve its traditional role as host of the annual Christmas parade through downtown.
To get everyone in the Christmas mood properly, organizers will start things off a week early with the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 7. City officials will throw the switch to juice the Christmas tree lights at 6:30 p.m., and there will be Christmas carolers from the Anna Women’s Ensemble to entertain the crowd and hot chocolate provided by a local Boy Scout troop. The tree is being donated by Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm out of Van Alstyne, and the event is sponsored by The City of Anna and Coyote Pride Lawn Care.
Organizers, including Karen Grandstaff who was instrumental in putting together a team of volunteers, have been busy planning for Anna’s big day on Dec. 14. A full day’s worth of activities are the direct result of their hard work. Grandstaff said the event will be a good time for everyone, and she hopes it will serve to bring the community together.
"We looked at what the celebration needed to be [about]," said Grandstaff. "With all the growth Anna has been experiencing, there has been some compartmentalization. This will bridge that gap."
To kick things off, Rattan Elementary will be hosting Breakfast with Santa from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the Christmas Parade will take to the streets at noon. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. there will also be a car show at the Malt Shop, this one a "Show and Shine," meaning cars will be displayed for viewing pleasure only.
The parade will roll out from Anna Middle School onto Highway 5 and proceed south to a left turn on 4th St and end at Riggins. Organizers are hoping to get as many as 35 parade float entries and those entries are eligible for first, second or third place prizes as top floats. The Grand Marshall of the parade will be 94-year-old Doris Howell, longtime resident and author of her own column for The Anna-Melissa Tribune. Congratulations, Doris! The theme of this year’s parade is "Down Home Country Christmas."
The festival itself will be a treat for young and old as it runs throughout the day in the heart of downtown. Organizers have confirmed 50 arts and crafts dealers, food vendors and community partners, all of whom are required to have kid-friendly activities planned. There will be some truly unique booths and activities as evidence by the live bear. Yes, you read that right – organizers have booked a live 500-pound black bear (don’t worry, it won’t be running loose) with which attendees will be able to be photographed.
There will also be a special Kid’s Zone. This part of the festival can be accessed by a bracelet which costs $5. This is a good spot to mention the beneficiaries of this year’s festivities. Proceeds from this event will go to help out Anna’s House and The Samaritan Inn, Collin County’s only homeless shelter. Donations of cold and flu medications, diapers and sanitizing wipes are also requested.
Live music is planned on two stages. Confirmed acts include Rory Payne, Keith Owens, the Matt Nix Band, Katie Lamb, celtic band The Selkie Girls and even a show put on by Dance Time.
Since this will be a birthday party there will be cake. Brookshire’s of Anna is providing the cake for the Centennial Celebration, as well as 1,000 cupcakes. Cutting the cake will be longtime Anna business owner Betty Noe.
A big development for this celebration — and one organizers can’t stop raving about — will be the opening of the Sherley Bros. museum for the festival. This museum is generally open only by appointment and houses some fascinating items from yesteryear. Pictures with Santa will also be hosted at the museum. Sherley Bros. museum is located at 101 N. Sherley St.
The Centennial Celebration and festival is sponsored by The City of Anna, the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce (GACC) and the newly-formed Friends of Anna.
"A big thank you to all the volunteers who are putting the festival on and also to all of our sponsors and contributors who are helping make this possible," said Sara Cox, GACC director.
For more information call the Chamber at 972-924-8533.