Christmas came about six months early for downtown Sherman with its annual Christmas in July festival. The event brought together businesses and organizations from the city’s core to provide family entertainment and some relief from the summer heat.

The purpose of the event was to give Sherman families a taste of the holidays during the summer months when the weather can be the exact opposite of the festive months. It was also meant to tide families over the middle of the summer when other events have already run their course.

“It is a free festival for families with small children,” Sherman Main Street Manager Sarah McRae said. “It really is for anyone, but is best for the small kiddos.”

McRae, who was dressed for the occasion in a Santa-printed Hawaiian shirt, said the event was originally organized by the Downtown Sherman Association about several years ago, but has been organized by the Main Street Department since around 2016.

“By July, it feels like people have run out of things to do with the kids,” she said.

Saturday’s festivities included bounce houses and a water slide for the younger crowd. Representatives for local businesses and organizations provided watermelon, ice cream and snow cones to beat the summer heat. In total, McRae said about 30 local organizations were in attendance with booth around the courthouse square. An additional 10 businesses both on and off the square provided activities at their storefronts, she said.

Santa Claus himself made an appearance outside of the Old Iron Post and helped host a Hawaiian shirt contest. However, the jolly old elf traded the red suit for a pair of jeans and floral shirt for the summer months.

The contest was won by Makenzie Silco, who dressed for the festival in a blue, floral-printed dress.

“The reason i chose this dress is because it was made in Hawaii,” she said.

Among the businesses participating this year was Touch of Class, which provided root beer floats and popcorn to visitors. In total, the antique mall distributed about 500 frosty beverages, co-owner Jeanette Mayhugh said.

Mayhugh said she has participated each year as a way of giving back to the community.

“It is a community event that is free and we want to make sure we have something for everyone,” she said.