Bells will be ringing in Stephenville, signaling the good news of the Christmas holiday.

The first event to kick off in Stephenville will be the second annual Holly Jolly Christmas, hosted by the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Downtown Square and Plaza, boasting several fun-filled events for all ages.

The official lighting of the Christmas Tree will be held at 6 p.m. at the Downtown Plaza with Santa Claus as a special guest.

Musical enthusiasts should then swing over to the courthouse to listen to Stephenville High School Choir “In the Mix” perform at 6:40 and 7:20 p.m. The musical notes will continue at 8 p.m. when the Henderson Junior High Varsity Girls Choir sings in front of the Christmas tree. Courtney Patton and band will also provide entertainment as they rock around the Christmas tree.

Photographs with Santa, sponsored by Project Graduation, will also be available. Children can visit Mrs. Claus at her cookie factory, located inside Simply Deli, where they will have an opportunity to decorate their own Christmas cookies.

Horse-drawn carriage rides and lighted hay rides will also be provided as they trot visitors down the streets of Stephenville where they can enjoy hot Dublin Dr Pepper, hot chocolate, cider and coffee and browse vendor booths for the perfect holiday gifts. Food will be available at the Cowboy Chuckwagon.

While the chamber celebrates with fun festivities, one local church will host an event to remind patrons of the true reason for the season.

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will present its annual Live Nativity scene tonight and Thursday from 7-8 p.m.

“It helps people focus on the real meaning of the season,” Pastor Paul Ganther said.

The nativity will have costumed players and live animals portraying the scene. Viewers are encouraged to bring a gift to the nativity or a non-perishable food item for project H.O.P.E. or a cash donation for Erath County Habitat for Humanity.

Ganther said hundreds of people drive by the nativity each year, located at the corner of Race and Green streets in Stephenville, each taking their own approach to the event.

“Some people drive by and some stop,” he said. “It’s often an intergenerational event for families. It’s just a real neat event for the community.”

For more information on Holly Jolly Christmas, call the chamber at 254-965-5313 or SPARD at 254-918-1292. For more information on the Live Nativity, call First Christian Church at 254-965-4878.