Nov. 19—Dean Porter Park has been transformed into a holiday wonderland as organizers prepare for the formal opening of the 13th annual Holiday Village at the park.
Holiday Village features 34 decorated cottages that are placed along the sidewalks at the park giving patrons the chance to enjoy it beginning Monday.
"We have 34 cottages, and they are decorated all of course with a holiday theme that can be cultural, historical or whimsical in nature," said Laurie Ray, Holiday Village chairperson. "We have two new cottages that haven't been seen just yet and a number of them that have been redone as well because a renewing sponsor gets a refreshed look."
"It's free, it's fun and it is family oriented, so it is really appropriate for all ages," Ray said.
The opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m. with the lighting at 7 p.m. that will include music, entertainment, treats and door prizes.
"We will have passes to the Children's Museum, tickets to the Camille Playhouse, gift cards to Cobbleheads restaurant, H-E-B, all sorts of fun stuff," said Jeanne Hughston, one of the event organizers.
Santa Claus will be there every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. up to Dec. 23, and Sunday's from 6 to 8 p.m.
"People will notice that we've tried to dress up the park a little bit more this year ... our barricades are covered this year to look like snow-capped fences and we have a lot more lights that the city of Brownsville has added to the park for us as well," Ray said.
Eleven vendors will also be at the Holiday Village selling food and drinks to those attending during the weekends and on some week nights.
Earlier this month, the cottages began making their way to the park from the locations where they were being stored, and volunteers have been retouching and sprucing the cottages getting them ready for the grand display. Each cottage is about 10 feet wide by 8 feet deep and over 11 feet tall.
On Wednesday, amid chilly temperatures, volunteers continued to put the finishing touches on the cottages getting them ready for the Monday night debut that will be a delight to all.
Ray said that on any given night about 1,000 people visit the Holiday Village and they come from across the Rio Grande Valley, including Winter Texans.
"We hear from everyone that there is nothing like this any place else and it makes us very proud," Ray said.
People had already been at Dean Porter Park getting a chance to peek at the new cottages that were being set up.
Two new cottages have been added to the display that include Angel's Voices and Double Trouble. Angel's Voices is a vinyl store and Double Trouble, which is a twin boy's bedroom, Hughston said.
The Holiday Village cottages include a library, bank, toy hospital, tree farm, a cathedral, courthouse, Santa's Workshop and many more.
Also returning to the park this year is Fritter, the Holiday Village elf. From the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, join in the fun of finding Fritter and enter to win daily and weekly prizes from the Children's Museum of Brownsville.
Dean Porter Park is located at Dean Porter Park off Ringgold Street. The village is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The cottages are lit up at 6 p.m. each night.
The Virtual Village will also open on Monday giving families a chance to play games at home and learn more about the cottages.
The Holiday Village will be open from Monday through Sunday, Jan. 1.
A complete schedule of events can be found at: www.holidayvillagebrownsville.com.