The east side of Bay County will be ringing in the Christmas season Friday during annual events hosted by Callaway and Parker.
The City of Parker will hold a tree lighting from 4:30-7 p.m. at Memorial Park next to City Hall, 1001 W. Park St. off U.S. 98. The City of Callaway, meanwhile, will hold Christmas in Callaway from 6-9 p.m. at its Arts and Conference Center, 500 Callaway Park Way, off State 22. Both events are free.
The events will have plenty for parents and children to do including hayrides, appearances by Santa and vendors. Parker will have “snow” from several snow machines and a barbershop quartet, while Callaway will have a balloon slide and obstacle course.
“We had about 400 people there last year, which for our size community is pretty substantial,” Parker Mayor Rich Musgrave said. “All the employees are excited about it because it presents the city in a good light and shows we’re doing stuff for the citizens. I personally like to have events because it enables folks to get together and socialize.”
Musgrave said Parker officials expect to hit, and maybe exceed, last year’s attendance, and there also will be 50th Parker anniversary coins for sale.
In Callaway, free hot dogs and hot chocolate are on the menu, and there will be live entertainment inside and outside the Arts and Conference Center. Musgrave and Callaway Mayor Pamn Henderson said Friday’s events are “major expansions” of past events. Fliers for the Callaway event have been sent to Tyndall and Callaway Elementary, and robo-calls to the city’s residents are planned Wednesday to get the word out.
“This is a major event,” Henderson said. “I think it’s going to be great. ... I want Callaway to be family-friendly and that’s the direction we’re heading in. Everybody sounds excited about it.”
“We want everyone in the city to know,” Callaway City Manager Eddie Cook said. “I’m expecting thousands. We want people to come and enjoy Christmas and be part of it.”