The Commerce Journal

December 4, 2012

Commerce prepares for Christmas

By Joseph Hamrick and Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Mystery of the Christmas Star showing through the end of December.

The Texas A&M University-Commerce Planetarium is hosting The Mystery of the Christmas Star that began in early November and will run through Dec. 21.

Cheri Davis, assistant planetarium director for A&M-Commerce, said the event began six years ago and has picked up steam ever since.

“November and December of 2006 was the first Christmas that the planetarium was open for shows and the Mystery of the Christmas Star was presented at that time,” she said. “The next year many of our visitors asked for this show so we offered it again.  We’ve since had families, churches, and regular visitors comment that this has become a part of their Christmas tradition; We’re happy to be a part of that.”

Davis said there’s something about the appealing story that keeps bringing people back to see it.

“We’ve looked at other Christmas shows prepared for the planetarium setting and keep coming back to this one as it has a great story and explores the different theories that could have been the star that led the Wise Men to the birth of Jesus,” she said. “One of the benefits of the digital planetarium is that we can reproduce the skies from Bethlehem, even over 2000 years past.”

The Mystery of the Christmas Star will show each Friday night at both 7 and 8 p.m. through Dec 22.  Tickets are $5 per adult and $4 per youth. There is a seating capacity of 87 so reservations are encouraged. For more information call 903-468-8650 or email

Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade on Dec. 6.

The Commerce Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Christmas parade on Thursday, Dec 6. The theme this year is “Christmas Movie Memories” and floats will be encouraged to reflect a particular Christmas movie moment.

“This year we’re not requiring an application to be in the parade,” Doug Rohrabaugh, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce said. “We’re hoping the weather is good and for a big turnout.”

Rohrabaugh said the parade will follow the same route as this year’s Bois d’Arc Bash parade.

“The parade will start at 7 p.m.,” he said. “Participants will need to be at Farmer’s Market to line up at 6 p.m. The parade will follow the same route as this year’s Bash parade.”

The Chamber of Commerce will be handing out free cookies and hot chocolate while supplies last, and will be awarding trophies to the best decorated household float and best decorated business.

University to host Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 7

Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) will host their annual Winter Wonderland event Dec. 7. beginning at 7 p.m. on the North Patio of the Rayburn Student Center. The event will feature carriage rides, Christmas carolers, hot chocolate and soup, as well as some arts and crafts. The event is open to A&M-Commerce students, faculty, and staff, as well as Commerce citizens.

Kiwanis Club begins Lil’ Angels program

The Commerce Kiwanis Club is preparing for Commerce Lil’ Angels, which they began in 2004. Formerly known as Toys for Tots, the event provided 532 Commerce children with Christmas presents. Individuals interested in participating can pick up an angel from Christmas trees located at Wal-Mart of Cypress Bank. Guaranty Bond Bank will also have cards available. The gifts for the angels can be returned to the Commerce Police Department, the Commerce Chamber of Commerce, Cypress Bank or Guaranty Bond Bank. The Kiwanis Club is also accepting monetary donations to help Lil’ Angles that were not chosen from the tree. To participate, pick up an angel from one of the trees, or send a monetary donatation to Commerce Lil’ Angels, P.O. Box 818, Commerce, TX 75429.

Commerce citizens prepare for food pantry fundraiser

A&M-Commerce Safety Director Derek Preas and his wife recently purchased a home on Windy Drive in Commerce. This Christmas, Preas began a friendly decorating competition with his neighbors, a competition that has turned into a fundraiser for the Commerce Food Pantry.

“One of my neighbors would go put up lights, and then I would go put out something,” he said. “After a while, we sat back and thought about how we could make this a community thing.”

They decided to hold a contest from Dec. 5-15, with boxes in their front yard title “Lights for Food.” Commerce residents can pick their favorite house by dropping cans of food in the boxes, and the individual with the most pounds of food will win the contest. All of the food will be donated to the Commerce Food Pantry.

For more information, individuals can contact Preas at 903-268-1145.

Commerce ISD to host Winter Arts Festival on Dec. 13.

Ludonna Smithers, director of personnel and communications for Commerce ISD, is one among many who helped to organize the third Winter Arts Festival dedicated to showcasing art produced by CISD students.

“We will show art displayed from every campus,” she said. “This has developed into a community celebration rather than a school event.“

Smithers said she has enjoyed seeing the event grow into more of a community event.

“This will give parents and the community an opportunity to celebrate the arts,” she said. “And for students to be exposed to fine art and particpate in fine arts.”

Performances will include a second grade choir performance, the middle and high school band performances, and both middle and high school theatre arts programs will put on Christmas shows.

The event will be on Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m. inside the Commerce High School and is free and open to the public.