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Christmas season kicks off in Abilene

Downtown Abilene was full of joy last night as festivities kicked off the holiday season.

Abilene City Sidewalks is celebrating its 35th year. City officials unveiled the “Locomotive” Storybook Sculpture inspired by Brian Floca’s award-winning book of the same name. The sculpture sits on the corner of Walnut and North Fifth streets in front of city hall. City officials, including Mayor Weldon Hurt, spearheaded the festive kickoff, culminating in the illumination of Abilene's official holiday tree by a group of children.

Following the statue unveiling, onlookers joined in a lively performance by Revolution Strings outside city hall. Mayor Hurt, emphasizing the season's true spirit, urged spectators to appreciate local vendors while remembering the essence of the holidays. "We wanna encourage everyone, you know it's a time to shop local. But let’s not forget about what this time of year is about. It’s when we come together and share the blessing we have."

Families cheered along the route of the FOX West Texas Christmas Lights Parade, which featured more than 150 floats and performers. Community choirs and bands performed at various locations around downtown adding to the holiday spirit of Abilene City Sidewalks.

Amidst dancing Grinches and smiling Santas, families found ample opportunities to explore downtown businesses like Bodegish. Business owner Josh Rader stressed the significance of such events in driving downtown traffic. "People are what make our business go, so stuff like this is great. Any excuse we have to bring people down is what we need."

For those who missed Tuesday's festivities, no need to worry Abilene's holiday season is just beginning. Abilene City Sidewalks has a December packed with events, KACU will be participating in City Sidewalks with"It's a Wonderful Life" LIVE radio play on December 7th at 7 pm.

Katie Pantoja joined KACU as a full-time staff in August of 2022 as the Digital Media Editor and Operations Assistant. In March 2023, Pantoja took on the role of Director of Operations and Digital Media. She oversees and develops daily programming, KACU.org, and the station's social media content and outreach along with training and mentoring student staff. She occasionally covers the arts scene in the Big Country.