The city of Sherman rang in the start of the holiday season Saturday as it hosted it’s annual Christmas events on the square. Saturday’s festivities, which included the city’s Snowflake Festival, were capped off by the city’s annual Christmas Parade, much to the delight of thousands in attendance.

“We are like the little hub for Texoma, and having a parade here first really kicks off the holiday season,” Sherman Tourism and Marketing Manager Sarah McRae said Saturday.

For this year’s parade, organizers chose the theme of “A Country Christmas,” bringing western style to the annual event.

“Our tagline is that we are adding western flair on the square,” McRae said.

For this year’s event, McRae said there were between 80 and 100 entrant organizations who danced, marched and rode through the streets of Downtown Sherman. With this year’s theme, McRae said she hoped that participants could find many of the decorations around their homes.

For 2017, organizers focused on providing more floats than previous years. Despite the change in focus McRae said she was surprised by the number of groups that were able to participate with floats this year.

Among the participants who created a float for this year, was Keep Sherman Beautiful, which used recycled material to decorate its float. KSB board member Amanda Smith said everything on the float down to the Christmas tree was either recycled or recyclable.

Smith said this is the first year for the organization to participate, and she wanted to get word out about what Keep Sherman Beautiful does within the community.

“And who really doesn’t like a good parade, really,” she added.

This year also represented the seventh year Women Rock participated in the parade. This year, the group anchored the parade by letting Santa Claus himself ride on top of their pink firetruck.

Janis Fletcher, who serves as the vice president of the board of directors, said the parade is important to the community in that it brings together all aspects of Texoma.

“You get to see people that you might only get to see once a year at this very parade,” she said.

Before the parade, organizers also hosted the city’s annual Snowflake Festival, which featured holiday-themed vendors, food trucks and a chance to meet Santa, among other activities. For this year’s festival, McRae said organizers decided to hold the event later in the day in order to put it closer to the start of the Christmas parade. Through this, she hopes that families could stay for both events.

Among the vendors at the snowflake Festival was a sweater booth organized by Goodwill. The booth featured traditionally designed sweater along with other, more colorful and unique designs. Several featured decorations using tinsel and garland to exemplify the holiday season.

“They’re the kind only a mother can and does love,” Sarah Pierce, a marketing specialist for Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas, said.

Pierce said this was the first year for Goodwill to participate in the event, but organizers have recently been looking for a way to get involved with the annual holiday celebrations.

“It is important to support anything going on in downtown to bring people into our community,” she said.

McRae said between the two events, she expected more than 3,000 visitors to crowd the Grayson County Courthouse Square.

Among those who came out to Saturday’s festivities was Sheila Moreland, who passed the time before the parade by taking selfies with the six members of her family who were in attendance. Other family members, including a son, were in the parade itself.

“I always liked that all the people can come out, together, and spend time with the family,” she said.