With cooler weather on the horizon, as holiday shopping begins, and as leaves change colors, the Fall Forest Festival on First Street, presented by Brookshire Brothers, is set to transform downtown Lufkin to a festival extravaganza on Saturday, Nov.14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This year, the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Downtown Lufkin to bring the holiday festivities to Angelina County since the normal five-day Texas State Forest Festival was impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“We completely understand that this is not your typical Texas State Forest Festival, but nothing has been typical about 2020,” said Tara Watson-Watkins, Chamber president/CEO. “We hope that this will give you and your family a chance to come out and enjoy some cooler weather and shopping, and of course, some yummy festival food. We are just doing the best that we can to help give our community just a little normality and enjoyment this fall season.”
The fan-favorite, 49th Annual Southern Hushpuppy Championships, presented by McWilliams & Son Heating & Air Conditioning, will be back this year. Participants travel great distances to Angelina County to participate in the Angelina County tradition. Watson-Watkins said she is looking forward to the Hushpuppy Championships the most.
“Get your favorite recipes and your friends and come cook-up some delicious hushpuppies,” she said.
The one-day festival will add a new addition this year, the Pineywoods Classic Car Show, presented by Ray’s Drive-In Cafe. During the day, the car show will transform downtown as a grand car showroom for festival goers to view and learn about classic vehicles.
“You won’t want to miss the Pinewoods Classic Car Show,” said Tara Hendrix, the Chamber’s director of events and engagement. “Whether you're a vintage car devotee, a motorsports buff, a budding collector, an off-road maven or someone who just wants more automotive experiences, this is the place you will want to be that Saturday morning. It’s going to be a fantastic experience for all classic car devotees.”
Begin your Christmas shopping at the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza as commercial vendors line the streets selling their crafts and goods to East Texas shoppers. Plus, food vendors will cook-up and serve delicious meals and sweet treats to festival goers.
“My shopping list is long with two young daughters for Christmas this year. I can’t wait to shop from our festival vendors and to find the perfect gifts for the family,” said Amanda Crocker, the Chamber’s director of membership. “Plus, I cannot wait to eat a delicious funnel cake and drink a big glass of lemonade. The Forest Festival on First Street is going to be a fantastic time for all.”
Additional festivities include a petting zoo, games and booths for children to enjoy, plus more. Throughout the day, Suggs’ American Karate’s Prowling Tigers, Susan’s Studio of Dance, and Academy of Gymnastics and Dance will take the stage to show-off their skills and talents. Plus, the winners of the Pageant of East Texas’ Miss Autumn Fest will be presented. There is no charge for entrance into the Fall Forest Festival on First Street.
“We are hopeful that we can bring a small portion of our 36-year tradition to the residents of Angelina County and fellow East Texans. … We also know that it’s our responsibility to make sure that this event is held safely and that we aren’t doing anything that would jeopardize our community,” Watson-Watkins said. “We are working closely with the City of Lufkin, Angelina County and others to make sure that we are following all safety protocol from the state to local level.”
Even though the COVID-19 crisis has made things change and evolve throughout 2020, there will still be plenty of fun this November to be had as friends and family make memories during the Forest Festival on First Street. For more information or details on how to become a vendor, to participate in the hushpuppy cook-off and car show, visit LufkinTexas.org or TexasStateForestFestival.com.