Inaugural Melanin Christmas bringing food, family & fun to Port Arthur

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

With the desire to support local businesses, entertain the children in the community, provide people a quick way to knock out Christmas shopping and bring South County together for a day of fun; five Port Arthur natives put their skills together to organize the inaugural Melanin Christmas event.

“We’re hoping if everything goes really well, we’ll make it an annual thing the kids and other businesses can look forward to,” said Neladonna Jacobs, one of the event organizers.

“It’s something I’ve always had on my heart — that I wanted to do something for the community. I’m involved in a lot of things with kids, and there’s not a lot of safe things for the kids to do around here.”

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Set for Dec. 4 from 12-5 p.m. at the Bob Bowers Civic Center, Melanin Christmas will feature a chili cook-off, performances from the Memorial High School choir and Port Arthur Honeybees dance team, arts and crafts for the kids, a multitude of foods, and vendors showcasing just about everything that could be on a Christmas shopping list.

And, of course, Santa will be there for the show.

Vendors, Jacobs said, are offering smoked barbecue, pre-cooked Christmas dinner orders, every type of sweet treat possible, clothing lines, loaded teas, nutrition coaches, clothing lines, toys, boutiques and custom-made baskets, just to name a few.

There will also be companies on hand that decorate homes and trees for individuals.

“We’re looking at 30-plus vendors in there,” Jacobs said. “It’ not often that you see a pop-up shop where there’s also an event going on at the same time.”

But parents wanting to shop without having to wrangle kids won’t have to worry about that either, said April Conyers.

Conyers is one of the five community members involved in the planning. After running a local daycare for several years, she’s known in the area for her involvement with children. So she has helped plan out a whole day just for them.

“I’m real big on outreach and I just love giving back,” Conyers said. “We put our heads together and decided, ‘let’s do it!’”

Conyers said there will be a table set up for arts and crafts, including canvases where kids will be taught how to paint a certain scene. Children will eat free after 300 hot dogs, chips and drinks were donated. They’ll be served hot cocoa. And Mrs. Claus will be reading as parents shop.

In addition, there will also be a toy drive on site to collect toys for those who are less fortunate.

“People are always looking for ways to give back, and it takes a village when it comes to kids,” Conyers said. “If you don’t tap into your village, you don’t know what you have.”

But the kids present won’t leave empty handed, either. Santa will be there for photos, and will be passing out toys.

Those wanting to participate in the chili cook-off must register by Thursday and can do so by emailing