Rusk Chamber delights citizens with array of holiday events

by Josie Fox Rusk Chamber of Commerce Manager

It's 12 days of Christmas – and then some – as the Rusk Chamber of Commerce plans a most festive end to 2020.

Citizens, civic organizations, clubs, churches, businesses, vendors and even essay writers have several holiday events to participate in during the holiday season, starting with nominating this year's holiday Grand Marshal.

“Tell us, in your own words, who you'd like to see help officially ring in the holidays and why they are deserving of the title of 2020's 'Grand Marshal,'” said Rusk Chamber Manager Josie Fox. “Especially share what they've done in support of and service to our community.”

Anyone who'd like to nominate a citizen for grand marshal is asked to pen an essay of up to 200 words on why their nominee should receive the honor. Deadline to get nomination essays in to the Chamber is Friday, Nov. 20. Email essays to or mail them to Fox at the Rusk Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 67, Rusk, TX 75785.

The winning nominee will ride at the head of the annual Christmas parade as well as officially ring in the season by getting to flip the switch to light up downtown Rusk during the Chamber's inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, on Saturday, Nov. 28.

“Thanks to the very generous donation of the Perkins family, our lighting ceremony will center around the 26-foot Christmas tree that will be on display on the square for the duration of the holiday season,” Fox said. “The Chamber is also extremely pleased to announce we're upgrading the lights lining the tops of the buildings around the square this year, with LED lights, as well!

“We'll light the tree and the square up at 6 p.m. during the ceremony and everyone is invited to come help officially ring in the holidays.”

The event, held from 2 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 28, and will feature opportunities for unique Christmas shopping with vendors offering homemade crafts, art, collectibles, eatable goodies and more. Vendor spaces are $15 and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Email Lana Starkey,, to reserve vendor space.

“We're working hard to make sure there's minimal duplication of vendor merchandise to maximize the uniqueness and interest in what's offered,” Fox said.

The lighting ceremony also coincides with Small Business Saturday.

“It's more important than ever to shop local as much as possible,” Fox said. “It's been a rough year for everyone in so many ways and we want to make sure we provide ample opportunity to support our small businesses and industries as they do the same for our community.”

Other activities to be featured throughout the day include live concerts by local musical artists; a cornhole tournament; food trucks and fare from local restaurants; holiday photo opportunities, perfect for the annual family Christmas card; and a motorcycle toy run and classic car show, benefiting the Rusk Tree of Promise's Dream Tree program and the Good Samaritan. Call Cindy Kline, (936) 631-1654 to register for the toy run.

The festivities also continue into December with:

• The Chamber's annual Christmas parade, held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, on the square in Rusk. Anyone interested in entering the parade with a general Christmas themed float, group or other entry can contact Alyssa Walley at Aly Bee's flower shop, (903) 683-2337. Entry into the Rusk parade is open to all, pending committee approval as needed;

• Friends of the Rusk Public Library's First Friday dance returns, 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4, at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk. Admission is $5 a person. The Caddo Creek Band will be featured.

• A Christmas-themed golf tournament hosted by Birmingham Forest Golf Club, held Saturday, Dec. 5. Call the course at (903) 683-9518 for additional information and to sign up;

• The Daily Grind coffee shop and cafe's interactive murder mystery dinner, planned for Saturday, Dec. 5. Call the eatery, (903) 683-1500, to sign up or for more details;

• The Cherokee Civic Theatre's holiday production of 'Miracle on 34th Street,’ staged Dec. 11-13. Visit the CCT's website, for ticket information;

• The Ghost of Christmas Past walking tour, tentatively planned for Dec. 18. Details to be announced; and

• The Texas State Railroad's Polar Express train rides, held throughout the month of December. Visit for schedule and ticket reservations.