EARLY– Stagecoach Station Venues will hold its second annual Stagecoach Christmas celebration next Saturday, which culminates a year of operation for the local upstart.

With last year’s Stagecoach Christmas marking the business’ first public venture for Stagecoach Station Venues, this year owners Nancy Gathright and Pam Ribble look to make the event bigger and better as they celebrate their business’ first year anniversary.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it that’s for sure and we’ve met a lot of fantastic people,” Ribble said. “… We just enjoy trying to bring a little something different to the city. [Stagecoach Christmas] is certainly something we’re a little more prepared for and knowing what to expect and what went well. Adding to that, we don’t want to make it too complicated because it’s a celebration of Christmas and all of what that means.”

Returning this year will be the Christmas hayride, which will ferry passengers through trail lit with Christmas lights, weaving through the 100-year old oak trees and ending in “Santa Town.” Children will also have an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus and parents can visit the numerous venders on scene selling Christmas-themed products. The event will also feature pony rides, live music from Martin and Murray, Crossing County Lines, Jerry Armstrong and the High Mesa Band and others.

Before becoming Stagecoach Venues, the property was a livery and stagecoach stop, serving the Chidester mail route from Fort Worth to Yuma when the floodwaters made Pecan Bayou impassable. While weather has impacted previous events, Ribble believes it may be to the benefit of A Stagecoach Christmas, which will host a live reading of “A Christmas Story” in the Stagecoach fire pit, which was the basement of a home dating back to the 1800 that Ribble and Gathright had excavated and restored last spring. While turning a profit may be the primary motivator for some business ventures, Ribble said the primary purpose of A Stagecoach Christmas is to make memories and spend a few hours with family celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

“It’s not going to run parents ragged or anything like that. It’s something to make memories. That’s what we’re trying to do,” Ribble said. “… We will have Santa Claus again for some professional photographs. In addition to Santa Claus, we have the K.C. Express with her ponies we’ve added on to the things we’ve done and changed a few things. We just think it will be a really neat event for the community.”

Although celebrating their past accomplishments, Stagecoach Station Venues has much to look forward to in 2019. The Early City Council recently approved allocating more than $1,000 to return the Brown County Cowboy Gathering in June and Ribble and Gathright are just getting into planning their next Stagecoach Market Days.

“It will be a process. We still run into tons of people that don’t know we exist. It’s kind of typical with most business,” Ribble said. “If you’re not the kind of place where people are coming in and buying merchandise, it’s going to take a little bit for people to realize you’re there. Through every event we are acquiring new fans, people who are learning about us or people who know about us that never had a chance to come out. We’re just trying to be slow and steady.”

A Stagecoach Christmas kicks runs form 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for children.