It’s an event that dates back more than half-century, and offers an old-fashioned touch for the holidays.
“Christmas in the Park,” presented by The Founders’ Garden Club of San Antonio, provides an evening designed to encourage families and friends to gather together to celebrate the season.
The event will be on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m., and is expected to last 1 ½ to two hours, said Donna Swart, president of the garden club. It is held at San Antonio City Park, 12202 Main St., in downtown San Antonio.
Festivities will include a sing-a-long for the children accompanied by Dennis Devine and guests. The Sweet Adeline Lady Bug Quartet is expected to be there, and there will be a lighting of the Christmas Cards.
The club plans to offer free homemade cookies, warm cider, coffee and water, and each child will receive a little surprise bag of goodies.
People should bring their own chairs and flashlights.
About 50 lighted Christmas cards, which are 4-by-8 or smaller, will be stationed on display around San Antonio City Park, representing various organizations, businesses and families.
The crèche — complete with nearly life-size Nativity figures will be a highpoint, too.
In keeping with the club’s tradition, the baby Jesus will not be placed in the crib until Christmas Day, according to Diane Jones, who is serving with Swart on the organizing committee.
She is looking forward to the event.
Jones thinks her son has come up with an apt description for the evening. “He calls it ‘A Norman Rockwell Night,’” she said.
Jones’ niece, Camilla Clancy, is on the organizing committee, too.
Swart, Jones and Clancy have been busy lining up gift baskets for a chance drawing.
Tickets sell for $1 each, or six for $5. They can be purchased at San Antonio City Hall, or on the night of the event at the park.
Anyone who purchases a ticket has a chance to win one of around 15 gift baskets.
Themes include spiritual, home office, garden, tea and others.
There’s also a couple of backpacks. One is for a girl and the other, for a boy.
Proceeds from the event support the garden club’s efforts to keep the park beautiful.
Other highlights of “Christmas in the Park” will include two decorated Christmas trees and a blessing offered by the Rev. Garry Welsh, pastor of Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.
The Founders’ Garden Club dates back to 1961, when 11 women had a meeting in the park to found the organization.
Now, club meetings rotate between homes of the members.
“We meet on the first Thursday, at 9 o’clock, September through May,” Swart said.
The park, which sits on a site across the street from the church and Saint Anthony Catholic School, was originally donated to Saint Leo Abbey, which later donated it to the City of San Antonio.
When it gave the land to the city, the abbey stipulated that the church and the school get first priority in the use of the park, according to a historic account compiled for the club’s 50th anniversary in 2011.
Clancy, who now lives in Zephyrhills, grew up in San Antonio and has many fond memories of her childhood there.
She was recruited to help the club by her aunt, and is happy to be involved.
Jones said she’s love being part of the garden club.
“I love this community, and I want it to be beautiful for everyone else’s enjoyment,” Jones said.
All three ladies are looking forward to sharing their seasonal evening with the community.
“We just want to encourage people to come that night,” Swart said.
The Founders’ Garden Club of San Antonio
The name of The Founders’ Garden Club of San Antonio refers to the fact that it was the first garden club in the city, according to a document compiled to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary in 2011.
The name also pays homage to the foresight of the original founders of the Catholic Colony of San Antonio who set aside the land for a park, the document adds.
No minutes were taken at the club’s first meeting, the account says, but those attending the second meeting were: Jeanette Barthle, Stella Barthle, Rose Cope, Margaret Cissel, Alice Epperson, Bobbie Epperson, Jo Ann Franz, Marie Harper, Ruth Pike Herman, Mary Jones, Effie McCabe, Margaret Keifer, Patsy Reynolds, Theresa Schrader and Charlene Spalding.
The following month, Elizabeth Cannon, Blanche Naeyaert, Sylvia Gude and Dolores Nalley joined, and shortly thereafter, Alice Burger, Betty Burger, Sid Corrigan and Mary Schrader joined, the account says.
Published November 30, 2016