The streets of downtown Killeen will be filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas on Saturday evening for the 51st annual Christmas parade and second annual Merry Market.
“This is a good family outing where a family can come out and get into the holiday spirit and express their holiday cheer,” said Wilfred Brewster, Volunteer Services director. “The floats, candy and music all come together to make for a great event in our city and it really gets everyone in the mood for celebrating the season.”
While the parade has more than 150 entries, Brewster said another element that makes it unique is seeing all the different cultures come together.
“We have a lot of different cultures in our city, and at the parade, people will see all of them come together to show how each celebrates the holidays,” he said.
The city is asking that parade-goers bring a canned good, which will be picked up along the route by the Men of Unity. The organization will donate collected items to the Killeen Food Care Center.
“Jolly old Saint Nick will be there with plenty of candy and well wishes,” Brewster said. “The streets will be filled with young people receiving treats and happy expressions.”
The parade is slated to begin on North College Street in front of City Hall at 4:30 p.m. and wind its way through downtown.
The parade will travel east from City Hall on East Avenue D, head north on North Second Street and then east on Avenue B before heading back north on North Eighth Street. The route then proceeds west on Sprott Avenue, south on North Second Street, west on Avenue A and ends on Root Avenue behind City Hall.
Merry Market Day
The city hosts its second annual Merry Market Day at the Green Avenue Farmers Market, where there will be more than 20 vendors, live music and a chili cook-off.
“We had the idea, since there are a lot of people downtown already scoping out spots for the parade, that we would have something for everyone to do and we came up with Merry Market,” said Leslie Hinkle, community development director. “There’s a little bit of everything. Everyone can do a little shopping, enjoy the music and just have a good time outdoors.”
New to the event this year is ice skating. The rink, which is usually set up for Holiday Under the Stars, was moved downtown for Merry Market.
“Since Merry Market was so popular last year, we decided to try it downtown,” Hinkle said. “It’s free with skates available.”
The Merry Market, at 717 N. Second St., opens at 2 p.m. Saturday and lasts until the parade ends.