LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The city of Lufkin has been celebrating its first ever Yule Love Lufkin Christmas Festival, a brand new holiday event. Organizers said they think the festival can be a Christmas miracle for downtown.
"It's the only way that things like this can continue to happen, with local support," Tara Watson-Watkins, the executive director for Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Christmas is less than a week away, and since the temperatures aren't really helping East Texans get ready, this brand new festival is trying to do the trick.
"We just knew that Lufkin needed something for families during the holiday season," Watson-Watkins said. "We have this beautiful new plaza in between the convention center and the museum of East Texas and we just thought it would be a perfect way to showcase what downtown Lufkin has to offer."
A little more than 30 vendors set up shop, showcasing some of their best holiday items. Since thousands of East Texans took notice, the festival seemed to be cashing in.
"I've been very busy, customers love this event," Rosa Mendez, a vendor said. "People love shopping for Christmas gifts right now."
"I really like it, it's a really nice festival," Karen Williams, a shopper said. "I like the entertainment, and I like the shopping."
So what exactly does that mean for the local businesses?
"It brings great people downtown," Watson-Watkins said. Whether you're coming to the Yule Love Lufkin Festival or you're going straight to downtown to shop, it's helping our local economy and bringing people to the heart of Lufkin."
The main attraction at the festival is something that doesn't appear naturally in this part of the world.
"I'm really excited about the rink, we are one of the only rinks in the area," Watson-Watkins said. "This morning we had kids, after breakfast with Santa, in their pajamas skating on the rink. It's been fun to see the kids out there having a great time."
"We're having a lot of fun we like it," Krisit Commiato, a festival goer said.
A little more than 2,000 people have paid a visit to the festival and said they're already looking forward to next year.
"We hope that this new Christmas festival will be an annual tradition for families to be able to bring in people who are visiting them throughout the holidays," Watson-Watkins said.
"I hope so, we'll be back if it's here, Commiato said.
Watson-Watkins said 1,500 people came to the lighting of the tree Friday night. The event ends on December 21,2015.