Like the twinkle in a child’s eye on Christmas morning, the city of Dublin will soon sparkle when the Irish Capital of Texas kicks off the holidays on Thursday, Dec. 3. The theme for this year’s ceremonious start to the season is “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

The evening’s events will getting rolling as the annual lighted Christmas parade winds through the city’s streets. Parade participants will line up at 5 p.m. on Mesquite Street at Dublin Middle School, travel west to Patrick Street, turn south through downtown, continue to W. Elm Street and turn right and end at Wright Historical Park.

Who more fitting to serve as parade marshal than Santa Claus himself and while he is in town, he and his elves will greet children at Barbee Cabin at Wright Historical Park. Free photos with Santa will be provided by local business owner Sandy Parker, who operates Deep in the Art.

Also coming home for the holidays will be The Wanda Wade Dancers, who will perform at the event for the first time in several years. The dancers will perform at the Wright Park pavilion.

Texas tastes will once again take the stage as the city hosts its annual chili-cook off at the park. There is a $10 entry fee for amateurs and seasoned chefs who bring a piping hot pot of their one-of-a-kind homemade chili. Dublin Dollars will be awarded to the top three entries, which will be judged by event attendees who pay the $5 tasting fee. First place will be awarded $50 Dublin Dollars, second will receive $25 and third will win $10.

Vendors are also invited to peddle their wares and offer Christmas shoppers a chance to gift hometown goods and goodies. Non-profit organizations can set up booths free of charge, Dublin Chamber members will be charged $15 and all other vendors must pay $20.    

There’s nothing like the holidays in small town Texas and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce will once again sponsor its annual decorating contest for residences and businesses. Entries must be ready for judging by Monday, Dec. 21, and winners will be announced later that week.

Entry forms for the parade, chili cook-off vendor booths, chili cook-off and decorating contests are available at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, located at 111 S. Patrick Street or at the chamber’s Web site

Parade entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. and there is no entry fee. 

In case of inclement weather, vendor booths will be moved to the Rotary Building across from the Lyon Prim Museum and Events Center on Blackjack Street. Vendors will need to provide their own tables, chairs and lighting if needed. Electricity is available but vendors should bring extension cords.

For more infomation, contact the Dublin chamber at 254-445-3422.