The holiday season has arrived at the Fort Worth Stockyards with some festivities returning for the first time in two years.
Hundreds of people gathered along Exchange Avenue on Friday morning awaiting the twice-daily cattle drive, which was followed by a parade featuring Cowboy Santa.
Dena Newell, director of marketing and tourism for the Fort Worth Stockyards, said the parade was canceled last year due to COVID-19 precautions.
“We enhanced it a lot more than we have done in years’ past due to wanting to bring back the magical experience when you come to the Fort Worth Stockyards,” Newell said.
Other activities Friday included festive live music, photos with Cowboy Santa, cowboy poetry, and storytime with Mrs. Claus. Newell said over the past year, tourism has grown in Fort Worth Stockyards. There are at least double the number of visitors compared to this time last year.
“We are so blessed and thankful that we have been thriving. This year, this past year has been a great year for the Stockyards,” she said.
For some, holidays at the Fort Worth Stockyards have become a tradition. With the exception of 2020, Lonnie and Rachael Simpson said they have visited for photos ever since their daughter was born four years ago.
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“Last time we actually came here, it was nowhere near this crowded,” Lonnie said. “I just like being back to normal, seeing people being out and about.”
A holiday light spectacular is planned for 6 p.m. Friday on Exchange Avenue.