Sherman celebrated Christmas and the holiday season Saturday with its annual Snowflake Festival and parade.

Both events were held in the city’s square and downtown streets under near spring-like conditions. The festival welcomed visitors to browse vendor booths, play games, listen to listen to live music and even meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. The parade was kicked off with a lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and an appearance by Sherman Mayor David Plyler. Decorated floats, cars and festively-dressed pedestrians then made their way through the city’s streets.

“We always talk about how this has to be the most inclusive of our community events,” Sherman Tourism/Main Street Director Sarah McRae said. “We have about 90 different groups that will come and participate in the Christmas parade, whether they’re marching in the street or they’ve decorated a float. And we have so many neat vendors who’ve brought out stuff that’s perfect to give as a gift for the holidays.”

McRae said she and her fellow organizers tried to learn how long the city has hosted its annual Christmas and holiday parade, but no one was able to determine exactly what year it began.

“We asked all sorts of people, polled the community to see how many years it’s been going on, but everyone says it’s been happening longer than they can even remember,” McRae said. “So I think it’s safe to say this is one of our longest-running events that we have.”

While the history of the parade remains somewhat mysterious, McRae said a conversation with one of the city’s former tourism managers shed a little light on the history of the Snowflake Festival and how it got its name. McRae said when she learned that all of Sherman’s schools used to have students create paper snowflakes to decorate the festival grounds, organizers knew they had to revive the tradition after a long hiatus.

“With the help of the elementary schools and Dillingham (Intermediate School), they made us some really special snowflakes that will be hanging in the businesses along the parade route,” McRae said. “It’s just a sweet little tradition we thought would be fun to bring back.”

Linda Parenteau, of Denison, attended the festival with her two great-grandchildren. Parenteau said she had brought her children and their children to the festival over the years as a way to help them get in the Christmas-spirit and though she was focused on the younger members of her family, she felt the holiday festival and parade had something to offer everyone.

“It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are,” Parenteau said, “this brings people together, lets them have fun and celebrate a little.”

McRae said she was glad to begin December with the Snowflake Festival and parade and hopes the community will use the month ahead to embody the most important message of the holidays.

“This time of year, you always want people to care about others and make sure that your neighbors are warm and safe,” McRae said. “It’s about the people and not necessarily the things you can give them. It’s just about being together.”