It's not quite mid-November, but there's no doubting the Christmas season is already in full swing with a new Christmas tree installed at the Hope Depot, and several new developments are taking shape for the celebration in 2017.

It’s not quite mid-November, but there’s no doubting the Christmas season is already in full swing with a new Christmas tree installed at the Hope Depot, and several new developments are taking shape for the celebration in 2017.
Paul Henley said the new tree was actually purchased by the Tourism Commission, almost a year ago, January 2017, with the idea that it would be installed this Christmas.
“We are proud of it; it is a 16-foot industrial quality artificial tree that we got for $3,000. We had planned ahead from last year, when we got it. We will also have additional lighting around the Depot, and we will have a lighted Star for the top,” Henley said.
The City of Hope had received the tree in June, and it went up earlier this week, stationed at the east end of the Hope train depot, and it readily visible on Division Street.
Henley said that a lighted train display will also be installed at the base of the new tree, keeping with the Christmas railroad theme.
“It is very good quality and solid and should be fine with any rain or snow that may occur as well as shaking from the trains passing by,” he said.
Henley also said that with the newly painted lamp posts in downtown that Christmas decorations will be installed on those soon.
“I think it is going to look good this year,” he said.
Even the traditional Christmas Open House was given a new spin as the Chamber and a group of downtown merchants produced and released a promotional YouTube video Thursday showing various business owners and participants parading around the red truck at Tailgaters on the corner of S. Main and E. Division.
The video also features Mayor Steve Montgomery and City Manager Catherine Cook as well as Downtown Network President Bob Erwin, appropriately attired as Santa Claus.
The Chamber’s 2017 Christmas Parade is also set for Monday, December 4 with a “Winter Wonderland” theme, but the application deadline for the parade is Thursday, Nov. 30.
Also, new for 2017 is a revival of the old Christmas business and home decorating contests, and the city itself announced it was preparing city flower beds for Christmas decorations.
The Christmas decorating contests, one for businesses and residences, will be the first major public initiative enacted by the newly formed Hope City Beautification Committee.
Elsewhere in Hempstead County, the staff of Historic Washington State Park on Thursday announced its 31st Annual Christmas and Candlelight ceremonies, which will be held both Saturday, December 2 and Saturday, December 9.
The park is scheduled to be open from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. both Saturdays, but staff organizers say that to fully enjoy the many lighted luminaries and special music that visitors are encouraged to arrive in the later afternoon and early evening after dark.
Evening programming and tours are scheduled at 1:00 p.m. with lighting of the luminaries taking place at dark, and music from various groups and choirs will begin at 5:00 p.m.
The Washington State Park announcement also notes that tour locations and homes will be “adorned in 19th century style decorations including natural handmade wreaths and swags tailored by park staff and volunteers.”
Also, William’s Tavern Restaurant will serve a Christmas Buffet for both lunch and dinner during the Saturday events. For more information contact Historic Washington at 870-983-2684.