Affiliate of the Month: Keep Katy Beautiful on Celebrating Christmas in Katy
Each month, KTB highlights a new affiliate organization on the blog and through an Instagram takeover. This campaign recognizes the diverse organizations working hard to keep Texas beautiful. Check out past highlighted affiliates here.
Katy is known to many as the "huge suburb west of Houston," but what many people don't know is that the city limits of Katy is actually very small and only includes about 17,000 people. Locals refer to this small slice of Heaven as Old Town Katy.
One of our jobs as Keep Katy Beautiful is to beautify our community and inspire others to do the same. We try to balance this task with honoring the small-town charm and heritage that our residents crave. What better and joyous way to do so than decorate for Christmas and have the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting?!
With the help from the City of Katy employees, Keep Katy Beautiful decorates every available nook and cranny in Katy to bring maximum Christmas cheer to our residents and visitors.
In downtown Katy, you will find old-fashioned light poles adorned with Christmas banners and wreaths. While Keep Katy Beautiful decorates and hangs over 100 wreaths throughout the city, there are 21 extra special wreaths downtown that are a part of our Adopt-A-Wreath program.
Local businesses adopt one wreath and hand-decorate it to their liking and then we attach a sign with their business name. Part of the program also includes recognizing each business at the December City Council meeting with a slideshow of photos of all the wreaths.
The program has been going strong for three years and each year more and more businesses ask to participate. This year we added three more wreaths and are expanding the area where these beautiful wreaths hang. Residents love to drive through downtown trying to find each one, it is definitely a fan favorite.
When you hear the word "Christmas," what do you think of? Do you think of snow, decorating Christmas trees and hot chocolate? Or do you think of the traditions and gathering with loved ones?
Here in Katy, we think of all of the above! In addition to decorating the City, we want our residents to celebrate this beautiful holiday together. The City of Katy, with assistance from the Keep Katy Beautiful Board, hosts the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting event every year on the last Thursday in November. This year marked the 46th year we have celebrated the kickoff of the Christmas season with the lighting of the Mayor's Christmas tree in front of City Hall in Historic Downtown Katy.
The Katy Elementary 5th Grade Choir voices echoed into the night singing a jazzy "Do You Know Blitzen?" while over 500 Katy residents looked on in anticipation of Santa arriving to help Mayor Brawner flip the switch to the Christmas Tree. Next the Mayor and his wife read, "Twas the Night before Christmas." For the last line of the story, you can hear the entire crowd shout in excitement, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!" Before the special guest arrives, Julie Holley's School of Dance pirouettes and leaps across of the stage.
Then it's Santa time!! He rides in on a red convertible with a fire truck escort. The crowd erupts in applause and cheers as he walks towards the stage. Mayor Brawner then proclaims that it is the first day of the Christmas season and flips the switch. The Christmas Tree, City Hall and all the Live Oaks in front, light up with twinkling bright lights and the crowd oohs and ahhs!
After the ceremony, residents can take photos with Santa, play in a snow globe, write Santa a letter or purchase dinner and sip on hot chocolate from the food vendors present.
As I referenced earlier, one of our jobs as Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates is to beautify our community and inspire others to do the same but Keep Katy Beautiful believes it is also our job to inspire community togetherness, honor traditions and even spread Christmas cheer.
The true meaning of Christmas aligns itself to what it means to be an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful – it's believing in making wishes and having faith they will come true. It's believing in giving gladly for no reason, just because. It's believing that you can find some joy in everything you do. It's believing in love.
We love our Katy community and that's why we do what we do, and why all the other affiliates do what they do!
Blog Post Written by Jess Washburn, Tourism and Marketing Assistant for the City of Katy and the Affiliate Coordinator of Keep Katy Beautiful