Holiday Village Sets the Scene


Holiday Village Sets the Scene

A couple of buddies get into the holiday spirit at the Holiday Village.
A couple of buddies get into the holiday spirit at the Holiday Village.

Imagine being in a winter wonderland with snow surrounding you. You can also see Christmas characters, homes and businesses with various holiday decorations. Even Santa Claus is waving at passerbys. Better yet – imagine seeing all that without going to the coldest places of the United States or to the North Pole during this time of year.

Well, imagine no more. Brownsville’s Dean Porter Park currently has all of that in one place for people to enjoy at no cost to them.

One of the cottages people can see as they stroll along.
One of the cottages people can see as they stroll along.

Get ready to admire the beauty of such a winter wonderland at this year’s Holiday Village. The collection of more than 30 cottages are all in a Christmas setting. Each is built with different themes and representing a local business, family or organization that is part of Brownsville’s legacy.

For example, one can see representations of the Port of Brownsville, the historical Stillman and Celaya houses and Immaculate Conception Cathedral. There are the general stores of the past, a workshop where Santa takes care of his errands, a ginger bread house and many other places people are familiar with during the month of December. These are among the things people can take a glance at as they stroll around the village.

It takes a village to make a Holiday Village

Jeanne Hughston, a member of a committee that oversees the annual display, says the Holiday Village is the work of a lot of volunteers. 

“This is our tenth year,” she said. “This is a project to bring holiday cheer.”

The first Holiday Village was set up with 10 cottages and is now at 33 this year.

As to the funds to put on such a collection of exhibits, the village success depends from grants and from a number of corporate sponsors. This year those include Parra Furniture, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville and Village Accountants. Additional sponsors include Big Give Brownsville, the Mitte Foundation and the Brownsville Parks & Recreation Department.

Visiting the village

The Holiday Village, which every year opens the Monday before Thanksgiving Day, will be on display until Jan.1. The lights go on every day at 6 p.m. Everybody is welcome to stop by to admire the colorful and bright displays. 

Santa, a number of elves and others are available for pictures. And if anyone finds an elf named Fritter, they will be eligible to win prizes. For anyone who is hungry, there are about a dozen vendors. Menu items include tacos, burgers, spiropapas, hot chocolate, coffee and other goodies.

The village has become an annual attraction for families, couples, retirees and residents from both sides of the Texas-Mexican border. A creation of resident Mellena Connor, It has become the city’s very own.

Freelance journalist Tony Vindell has more than 30 years experience as a newspaper reporter. Born in Nicaragua, he studied journalism and political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He began his career working for The Pecos Enterprise in West Texas. Vindell also worked for The Laredo News, The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, Port Isabel News Press and the Raymondville Chronicle/News. Vindell, who lives in Brownsville with his wife Sharon, enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.