San Benito’s Christmas tradition continues


City of San Benito employees decorate Sam Houston Boulevard for the holiday season.                                                                    (Staff photo by Jacob Lopez)

City of San Benito employees decorate Sam Houston Boulevard for the holiday season. (Staff photo by Jacob Lopez)

Staff Writer

The longstanding San Benito tradition of decorating the main stretch of Sam Houston Boulevard is still going strong in the city.

Every year, the City of San Benito decorates lamp posts and fixtures with the festive ornaments. Interestingly, nobody can pinpoint when the tradition started. City of San Benito Public Affairs Coordinator Martha McClain said that it began with the Chamber of Commerce.

Former Assistant City Manager Hector “Chuck” Jalomo, who is referred to by many as an “encyclopedia of San Benito” due to his 47 years of experience working for the municipality, said, “As far back as I can remember,” when asked when the tradition first began.

“I got involved … back in 1983, but it was already in place,” Jalomo added.

His best estimate was 1980.

The City reuses many of the decorations, including the wrought iron frames that made up the older ornaments, according to McClain.

It can be difficult to truly get a sense of how large these hanging decorations are when they are attached to a light post, but the city provided that information to appease the curious.

Included this year are two Victorian skyline decorations that extend across the city’s main thoroughfare; they weigh in at 140 pounds each and are 50 feet long.

In addition, the city has several pole-mounted Christmas decorations, including: four Santa Claus decorations – each 8 feet tall and weighing 51 pounds; four snowmen – each 8 feet tall and weighing 45 pounds; four snowflakes – each 5 feet tall and weighing 38 pounds; four stockings – each 8 feet tall and weighing 34 pounds.

This year, the Heavin Memorial Park will also be decorated with 16-foot fishing elves, an 11-foot animated silhouette of a Barbell Trainer and a 10 foot waving Santa.

City maintenance workers tasked with hanging the festive decorations on Tuesday said it takes roughly six hours to install the entirety of the holiday ornaments.


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