Shelly Cruz and Misty Fagan strolled through shops in the Bergfeld Center Thursday night, looking at scarves and laughing about unique items they saw.
The friends participated in the annual Bergfeld Center Holiday Open House.
The Berglefld shopping area was blocked off to create a “town square” atmosphere, while musicians sang tunes in the center surrounded by fire pits to starve off the light chill.
Lights twinkled from building eaves, and each store was uniquely decorated with holiday cheer.
Brookshire’s Grocery Co. fed patrons with an assortment of dips, cookies, cakes, eggnog, and meat and cheese trays, and some merchants also catered for their guests.
Ms. Fagan, of Bullard, said she heard about the event a few weeks before and roped her friend into coming along, but both said they had a good time.
“There are some really neat things in these stores,” Ms. Fagan said. “They have a variety and anything for anyone of all ages.”
Ms. Cruz, of Larue, said others seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“Everybody is having such a good time,” she said. “They are talking and laughing, which is what Christmas is all about. … I don’t see anyone on their phones, and that’s huge.”
Larry Lott, president of the Bergfeld Merchant Association, said the event is in its 20th year, and this year the center is celebrating its 65th year as one of the oldest shopping centers in Texas.
“It’s the kickoff to the holiday shopping season,” he said.
Terry Marshall, owner of Come Together Trading, said at one point he counted 100 people in his store.
“I keep getting comments over, and over, and over, that I didn’t know you were here …” he said. “It’s been great. We met a lot of new people and people who say they don’t always take the time to stop — they drive by, they see the sign but they never (came by).”
Lott said the event was a fun way to promote shopping local.
“Shopping locally is good for East Texas because it’s good for the community,” he said. “It puts all the money back into the community.”