Downtown Port Arthur transformed into holiday wonderland

Published 12:51 am Saturday, December 11, 2021

It was almost as if Santa knew.

What had been a warm week became a chilly 60 degrees Saturday morning just in time for a full day of holiday events from the City of Port Arthur and the Museum of the Gulf Coast.

And Santa, of course, was on hand.

He sat in the Museum as a line of children waited for photos and a chance to tell him their Christmas wishes.

Josie Martin, who is 10 minus 7 (as she likes to describe her 3-year-old age), asked for “a Bluey House and a crying baby.”

Josie said she loves Christmas and was very excited to meet Santa. The snakes, however, she wasn’t as fond of.

But Sebastian Fernandez was. He showed no fear as Loree Williams with Snake Education Experience placed one on his head. The 9-year-old said he likes snakes, and that they’re “not scary.”

On the other side of the Museum were three different types of animals that drew quite a bit of attention — three dogs.

“We’re out here just providing some love with our therapy animals,” said Sara Guvala, an organization officer with Southeast Texas Paws for Love.

“They are very happy here,” she said of the dogs as they lay on the ground surrounded by children wanting to pet them.

And at noon, the crowd began to cross one street over to The Pavilion on Proctor, where the city began their eight-hour holiday event.

Workers were assembling an ice skating rink as Heaven Spradley, 12, jumped and flipped with other children on bungee cords.

There was even a mechanical bull, which 11-year-old Kline held on to for at least four seconds before falling to the bounce-house type padding below.

Vendors with everything from food to accessories lined the street, one even giving out gifts.

“We give toys to the kids and we feed them,” said Laura Mitchell, president of Francy Stepriders, as kids lined the table filled with toys for a chance to pick one. “This is our eighth year to do this.”