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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Merry & Bright, Maroon & White’

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Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications

Christmas decorations at The Gardens on Dec. 12, 2020. 

To celebrate the beginning of the holiday season, The Gardens at Texas A&M will be hosting the Merry & Bright, Maroon & White Holiday Stroll event.

The Gardens at A&M is a teaching garden on west campus composed of seven acres with 20 different themed gardens. On Dec. 4 from 5:30-7:30 p.m, The Gardens will be hosting a holiday event known as the Merry & Bright, Maroon & White Holiday Stroll where the community can enjoy the sight of beautiful lights and enjoy other treats and activities.

The stroll is a recurring event that aims to provide engagement between the community during the holiday season. The Gardens event coordinator Abbey Whipple said the event has occurred since the opening of The Gardens in 2018 and usually always has a great turn out.
“It’s something that we do for the community every year,” Whipple said. “To just celebrate The Gardens and everything that we’ve done and as well as kind of invite the community out to enjoy them as well. This year, we’re expecting probably close to 600 or 700 [people] again.”
The incentive behind the Holiday Stroll is to bring together the community and engage with one another. Gardens manager Joseph Johnson said important donors along with his previous experience helped bring this event together.

“What prompted us was that it was a good way to engage our community with an event like this in The Gardens,” Johnson said. “Plus, we had a wonderful donor supporter ABC Home and Commercial Services to help us with the lighting. My background with my previous job was at a botanical garden where we did holiday lighting and we had events like this holiday strolls, and things like that, so obviously I wanted to bring a piece of that here as well to the gardens at A&M.”
The Holiday Stroll will provide several activities, especially for young kids. Katherine Grier, education and outreach coordinator for The Gardens, said there will be many activities for children to enjoy.
“We’ll have a couple of different craft kits that they can make,” Grier said. “One of which is our kind of ode to one of our native owls here in Texas called the elf owl. We thought that was a fun play on the holiday season. We’ll have grab and go kits that folks can take home and kind of create their own little owl at home. What’s cool about this is we’re incorporating things that were found out in the garden or are grown out in the garden. We’ll [also] just have some other simple ornament making activities and things like that.”

All attendants are welcome to enjoy the beautiful lights, listen to performances and enjoy some tasty treats as they walk through.

“Just come, grab some cookies, grab some hot chocolate, [and] take a stroll through the gardens,” Whipple said. “We’ll be having a jazz band out there and they are students, they’re called the Fulton Street Combo. They’re amazing. They were such a hit last year, so they’ll be here again.”

Johnson said the most rewarding and special component of the event is the Aggie community involvement and seeing how many people attend and enjoy these events in The Gardens.
“It’s seeing a community come here,” Johnson said. “It’s really nice to have them here to appreciate and enjoy The Gardens, which was one of the purposes why we built it here is for them to enjoy that. I always love any way that we can involve the students and I love that connection of connecting the students with The Gardens.”

Whipple said this time of year is special as it not only brings families together, but unites the whole community through holiday cheer.

“This is the one time that the families can come out and enjoy it all together at one time,” Whipple said. “That’s what makes it really special to me.”

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About the Contributor
Sydnei Miles
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor
Sydnei Miles is a communication sophomore and journalism minor from Houston, Texas. She began reporting for The Battalion in the fall 2022 semester covering culture and community events happening on and around campus. Since January 2024, Sydnei has served as The Battalion's head Life & Arts editor and previously served as the assistant Life & Arts editor for some of the spring 2023 semester and for the fall 2023 semester.
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