Although weather related issues forced the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Under the Stars indoors, the crowd of hundreds didn’t seem to be effected by the cancellation of outdoor events.
Despite calling off the big wheel race due to rain and cancelling the Snow Mountain inflatable snow slide after the truck carrying the snow wrecked following an actual snow storm, hundreds of attendees as well as dozens of area organizations kept the Christmas spirit alive Friday and Saturday for the 10th annual Christmas Under the Stars.
“Ten years has been incredible. It is amazing how fast it has gone by,” said Sunni Modawell, chamber executive director who has been involved with Christmas Under the Stars since its inception. “We weren’t able to do the big wheel races or Snow Mountain this year. Our snow was canceled because of an accident from the snow it was coming from, but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit.”
Although driven inside, various businesses, churches and area not-for-profit organizations came together offering children everything from creating and decorating their own crosses, posing for photos with Santa or his elves, building wooden race cars or feasting on the seemingly endless options sweet treats. Modawell said there has only been one year Christmas Under the Stars has been cancelled and, despite TxDOT pre-treating roads for a potential weekend freeze, she as well as others associated with the event were determined this would not be the second year.
“It’s important for any organization to give back to those that give so much to them,” Modawell said. “To take an opportunity like this to give back something extra, it speaks volumes to the organizations and our community. I could not be prouder to live here. Everyone has been really excited. It’s Christmas and something magical happens.”
Although in her first year as executive chamber director, Modawell has been involved with the event since it debuted in 2008. She said it came about after numerous calls from the public requesting the chamber organize a Christmas-themed event.
“There wasn’t anything like this around us. Everyone was going out of town to do things we could have here,” Modawell said. “The community was giving us feedback that it would be really nice if we had something for Christmas so it made since that we dive in with both feet and create a Christmas festival. Here we are 10 years later and it gets better every year.”
While a seemingly great opportunity for a business, church or not-for-profit organization to market itself, Modawell said the thought process is much deeper than dollars and cents. For her and the participating organizations, it’s a rare time when a community can come together for the benefit of its youth and instill a since of community at an early age.
“If we have the ability to adjust, then that’s what we’re going to do. This is the Christmas festival and you just can’t cancel the Christmas festival,” Modawell said. “You just have to adapt. That’s what we do. We have to do this because we take great pleasure in it. This is something we look forward to all year long. To watch the kids create things and how much excitement they have makes the job worth while.”