We always love going to this parade. We have been several years in a row now. This takes place the first weekend in December in the picturesque downtown square of Nacogdoches, Texas, home to a long Texas history and Stephen F. Austin State University.
Get parade seats early. This year’s parade began at 6:30 so we claimed our seats at about 5:00. If you have small children, the easiest thing to do is bundle them up in their stroller so you can peruse the shops (before you get seated) and then park their stroller next to you to watch the parade. There are a LOT of quirky antique shops, Texas-themed shops (Heart of Texas), Coffee shops, art galleries, and a museum (among other things) downtown so you can easily spend 3-4 hours just exploring downtown Nacogdoches. If you are making a trip of it, one day can also be spent at SFA’s arboretum, azalea trails, and museum.
The festival gets its name from the 9 different flags that have flown over Texas- French, Spanish, Mexican, Fredonia Rebellion, Magee-Gutierrez, Dr. James Long, Confederate, Lone Star, and USA. Any history buff would enjoy this festival greatly. The main event, however, is the parade. Rightly so, as the floats are truly spectacular and the community comes together in a big way to make it happen.
Santa Clause makes an appearance at the end, much to the excitement of all of the kids
The night ends with a SPECTACULAR firework display. I have seen a lot of fireworks, and these rank right up there with some of the best I have experienced, (including those ones on Santa Rosa Beach/Seaside, Florida).
To sum it all up, some helpful, insider secrets:
- Claim parade seats early
- Bring chairs
- Bring blankets
- Bring cash for vendors (hot cocoa is amazing)
- Be sure to visit all the shops
- After the parade, hurry over to watch fireworks!
- Strollers for children
- Make dinner reservations for afterwards (Clear Springs does not offer reservations but they usually seat you quickly.
- Park in the lot directly behind the square