PALESTINE - Frost Fest, a new vintage holiday festival in the piney woods, will debut Palestine's first ice skating rink and bring tours of historic homes popular a few years ago.
Frost Fest also will offer a line-up of other holiday events: the "Freeze Your Buns Run," teas and contest for gingerbread, chocolate and cake decorating.
Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce plans to launch the festival Friday through December 9.
"Frost Fest is different from anything we (the chamber) have done in the past. We definitely want it to be an annual festival. We are hoping to make it bigger and better each year," Meghan Hill, the chamber's executive director, said.
The chamber, which has never sponsored a big event at Christmas, will stage the festival to provide more things to do for local residents and tourists coming to town to ride the Polar Express, Ms. Hill said.
There is an influx to Palestine of an estimated 50,000 people every year to ride the tourist train from Thanksgiving until the end of December, she said, and "we need more things for them to do while they are in town."
The announcement that an ice skating rink will be set up in the historic downtown area has touched off an excited buzz, as well, in Palestine and the surrounding area. The reaction has been "extreme delight," Ms. Hill said.
The 36-by-56 foot rink will accommodate up to 50 skaters at a time. It will be set up in a parking lot at the intersection of Spring and John streets in what the chamber is billing as "Holiday on Ice," Ms. Hill said.
The chamber has retained a company, All Year Sports Galaxy, to put down a level and sturdy sub floor. The company will bring in giant sheets of ice that almost look like puzzle pieces, lay them together and erect perimeter fencing.
The rink will have a synthetic ice-skating surface, composed of specially engineered polymers that allow the skate blade to glide as smoothly as it would on real ice, according to information from the chamber.
General admission will be $10 per person per hour, with ice skates provided. An hour is a long time since ice skating can be tiring, Ms. Hill said. She anticipates most people will probably skate 15 or 20 minutes.
The rink will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
All skaters will be required to sign a waiver. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult who can sign for them and skate with them, states chamber information.
The Hearth and Tinsel Tour of the North Side Historical District will be 2 to 4 p.m. The Candlelight and Tinsel Tour of the South Side historical District will be 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 per tour or $25 for both tours.
Teas will be at the Magnolia Street Inn Bed and Breakfast. Two seatings are available, 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The deadline to purchase tickets at the chamber office is Friday.
Palestine has preserved many of its antebellum and early 1900s homes, many of them large mansions with much fretwork , and smaller, yet still impressive, homes, states chamber information.
Homes on the Hearth and Tinsel Tour are:
922 N. Link, a frame house that illustrates a trend toward balanced and orderly exteriors with its historic character and integrity largely intact, states tour information. It was originally built as a small one-story dwelling in the 1870s, but was later moved back from the street and substantially enlarged into a grand two-story dwelling with a classical facade. One of its owners, James Ozment, was instrumental in helping restore power to local citizens after the Civil War and the occupation of Palestine by carpetbaggers, states tour information.
310 E. Kolstad, a frame house with pedimented portico and two-story columns, illustrating the Classical Revival architectural style that became popular locally during the1900s and the 1920s. It was built in 1907.
Homes on the Candlelight Tour of Homes are:
616 S. Sycamore, a single story frame house built in 1897, with major alterations in 1929 when the house was modernized with the addition of a kitchen and bath as well as a music room. A high-peaked roof was added over its original frame, while brick veneer was added to convert it to a Tudor-revival style dwelling, states tour information.
708 S. Sycamore, a 2 1/2-story dwelling with a three-story corner tower illustrating the Queen Ann style of architecture.
519 S. Royall, an opulent dwelling that has brick load-bearing walls. The house displays Victorian Italiante architectural embellishments, including the segmental-arched hoodmolds, bracketed eaves and main entrance with its round, arched portal and hoodmold. The fish-scaled, patterned shingles in the front-facing gable and the complex roof plan suggest the Queen Ann style, states tour information.
405 E. Neches, a grand, two-story Colonial Revival style house believed to have been built in 1911.
Decorating contest for businesses. Prizes are $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $125 for third place.
Cake decorating contest December 8. Entry fee is $10.
Chocolate contest December 8. Entry fee is $10.
Gingerbread contest December 8. Entry fee is $10.
Entries in the cake decorating, chocolate and gingerbread contests will be displayed near the ice skating rink.
Stained glass tour at First Christian Church.
Quilting display at the Redlands.
Christmas music from area singers, schools and churchs.