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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orangefield parade, festival Saturday

 

Last updated 12/12/2023 at 8:30pm

This photograph from the late 1900s shows the original lit metal oil derrick decorated for Christmas along Cow Bayou. Orangefield schools will soon be able to light a wooden replica in special colors any time of the year.

The historic oil community of Orangefield will once again celebrate the Christmas season with a parade and festival Saturday, December 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chris Kovatch with the Orangefield Fine Arts Boosters said the group has a contingency plan to hold the festival inside the junior high gym in case of rain.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the Orangefield Oil Supply Company on FM 408 and go a short ways to FM 105. Then the parade will turn west and turn north onto Sandbar to end at the junior high.

The festival will be set up at the stadium with booths selling crafts, Christmas items, and food. A car show will be set up on the new parking area at the elementary school.

The high school band and drill team will perform on the field. Also, the Cormier Museum full of historic and nostalgia items will be open.

Kovatch said the community Christmas celebration was started several years ago by another group. It was stopped during the Covid pandemic and didn't start up again. Last year, the Fine Arts Boosters began it anew.

The Fine Arts Boosters represents the Orangefield band, color guard, drill team, and choir. Kovatch said money raised at the festival will go toward scholarships for graduating seniors in those arts. Last year, the group presented five graduates with $1,000 scholarships.

Kovatch, who is also a member of the Orangefield ISD school board, said the district will soon be able to "light the derrick" for special occasions and wins. The inspiration came from a tradition nearly half a century ago.

Orangefield began as "The Orange Oil Field" after an oil gusher was drilled in 1921. The area became a boom town with its own schools and has remained as a community for more than a century.

For many years, the community was dotted with old-fashioned metal derricks and pumping wells. By the 1980s, they had become a backdrop for even national television shows to film. At Christmas time, the derrick by the Cow Bayou Bridge was covered in lights with a star at the top.

Hurricane Rita knocked down almost all the old-fashioned derricks that had been left. Kovatch said his group discussed decorating the old one again for the holidays, but the effort was going to take too much.

The community built a wooden replica old-fashioned derrick by the school complex. Kovatch said Bridge City Bank agreed to sponsor the purchase of a LED light system for the derrick.

The system can be controlled remotely through a smart phone. It will be able to provide a number of different lights and combinations. For instance at Christmas, it could be lit up with red and green. For special wins and accomplishments at the school, it can be lit in the school color of orange.

 

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