BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Nacogdoches is calling on the expert to roll out the welcome mat.
"We're anticipating a record crowd of about 16,000," said Melissa Sanford, the Nacogdoches Convention Visitors Bureau director.
The guests are arriving.
"We're here for the Villanova-Stephen F Austin football game," Georgea Ferrante said.
The assistant football coach's wife and others can start their day with the Nine Flags Festival.
"Breakfast with Santa," said Sherri Skeeters, the CVB assistant director. "That's gonna be at the Hotel Fredonia starting at 8. The Jingle Bell run and that starts at 8:30 in the morning."
Each and every Christmas celebration brings in shoppers. Merchants got a taste of what's to come during last weekend's wassail fest.
"We probably doubled what we did last year," merchant Geri Larabee said.
Could tomorrow be as profitable?
"And then we'll have vendors tomorrow afternoon starting about 2 and the parade starts at 6:30, followed by fireworks," Skeeters said.
Unfortunately, a lot of Villanova guests have a charter flight to catch after the game. They're making up for lost time today.
"Just enjoyed your shops and talking to people in the town and all the wonderful gifts," Ferrante said.
Satisfied customers allow merchants to go home smiling.
"It seems like somebody woke up and said, 'Ohh, it's Christmas,'" Larabee said.
While merchants are cheering for busy shops, SFA is cheering for the added exposure.
"It's going to be nationally televised and it exposes the university to an audience who may otherwise never see us," said Dr. Adam Peck, the dean of student affairs.
The two major events in one day are undoubtedly complementing one another.
"And thank you for your hospitality," Ferrante said.