TEXARKANA, Texas - Christmas-themed events for the public may not be as plentiful in this year of a pandemic, but locals have ways to share the spirit of the season, including two drive-through nativity scenes and one snow-themed craft session for children.
Both Hardy Memorial United Methodist Church and First Assembly of God-Lighthouse Ministries invite the public to view their free drive-through nativity scenes this weekend.
Hardy Memorial holds theirs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at 6203 N. Kings Highway. First Assembly of God holds theirs the same hours Friday night through Sunday night at 3401 W. 7th St.
Church Pastor Patrick Evans at Hardy Memorial says people can enter the nativity from Arnold Drive to drive through the parking lot, where the nativity scene will be set up. Traditionally, they've held an indoor nativity where visitors can walk through Bethlehem.
"Because of what we've got going on, we're going to have people drive by. We'll have music playing, and if we're able to we're going to have a recording loop of the Christmas story on an FM transmitter, so you'll be able to listen to the story as you drive by," Evans said. "There will be wise men and camels and Joseph and Mary and Jesus, the usual cast. Shepherds."
They'll provide a pamphlet and hot chocolate, too, for folks to take away at the end. A traditional manger scene is part of the nativity there.
"We wanted people to be able to see the Christmas story, even though we're not able to do what we usually do. This we thought would be pretty good," Evans said, adding, "It's kind of one of OVERSET FOLLOWS:those stories you hope a lot of people know. But if they don't this is kind of a time to come and hear the story."
Holly Williamson at First Assembly of God said they will arrange two lines for people to get through quickly, one being a no-contact line. This is their sixth annual drive-through nativity. While the wait may be longer, the drive should take about 15 minutes.
"When they drive up they get a free complimentary hot chocolate, and then they get to drive in their car through the city of Bethlehem. They'll see 100 people in costumes. We have camels, donkeys, sheep, a cow. We have chickens. We have live animals. It's just a full cast of people in costumes," Williamson said.
The Facebook event page description put it this way: ""When you drive through the Bethlehem Marketplace, you will feel as if you have stepped back into the pages of the Bible."
At the end, a scene with the birth of Jesus is depicted. "You see him in a manger and then an angel choir," she said. Everyone stays in their car to remain socially distanced.
"We're doing it three nights this year, which is longer than normal," Williamson said, adding, "It's a lot of work so we want everyone to come through that wants to be here."
Get your snow on at the Museum of Regional History this Saturday. Hosted by the Discovery Place Interactive Museum Staff there at the history museum, this "Snow Dough" event helps children get in the festive winter holiday spirit by making snow dough.
From noon to 3 p.m., children can craft their own batches of this pseudo snow to play with and create a white Christmas, even down here in Texarkana.
Tickets are $5 per person, free for Texarkana Museums System members and children age 3 and younger. Advance registration and ticket purchase is preferred at TexarkanaMuseums.org/Events, according to a news release about the event.
Although closed for renovations, Discovery Place is hosting monthly events geared towards local children. For more information, call Burgandy Farris, Discovery Place manager, at 903-793-4831.