The Downtown Bryan Association will host the Wine and Wassail event in Downtown Bryan on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m., where patrons can walk store-to-store, sipping wine and homemade wassail while browsing the unique offerings of local businesses.
Events coordinator Hannah Hernandez helped organize this year’s festive occasion as a part of the Downtown Bryan Association’s mission to bring people into the historic downtown sector.
“Around Bryan-College Station, it’s the only one of its kind,” Hernandez said. “There are not really any other sip and shops like this where you get to go inside of all different businesses and see everything decorated for Christmastime, so it’s very unique for our little area.”
Participating businesses, such as Bird’s Nest Gifts and Antiques run by owner Robin Kenney, will open their doors for this event and provide wine samples and homemade wassail to visitors as they wander the stores.
“They’re having a good time, and it’s interesting to introduce the wassail,” Kenney said. “We have kind of a fun, fruity-type wassail, and they like it and they want to share the recipe. It’s like shopping was years ago, where you came to downtown and you wandered from store to store, and I like that.”
To add to the festive atmosphere, all of the streets were lit up with Christmas lights at last Friday’s Lights On! event, signalling the beginning of the Christmas season in Downtown Bryan just in time for Small Business Saturday.
“I truly think it’s just so fun to walk around downtown, especially when it’s cold and you get to see all the lights around you,” Hernandez said. “It just works out perfectly that it’s on Small Business Saturday, and it’s right after Thanksgiving, so everyone’s kicking off their Christmas shopping, so we hope that this event will spur people to come out and shop small business for their Christmas presents.”
The Kolache Capital, one of the 18 businesses hosting Wine and Wassail, is a traditional Czech bakery situated in Downtown Bryan run by owner Millicent Tausch. Tausch said Downtown Bryan has a “hometown feel,” especially during Christmas.
“It’s very merry, very jolly and everybody’s participating,” Tausch said. “People enjoy coming in and tasting wine and eating baked goods, and then going to the next place and experience what they have, so it’s a neat event. You get to know your customers, and you get to know all the other merchants, and it feels like a big family.”
In addition to Wine and Wassail, the Downtown Bryan Association is hosting other holiday events, such as the December First Friday, Lighted Christmas Parade and showings of classic Christmas movies in the historic Queen Theatre.
“I just think that sharing what we have going on is super fun,” Hernandez said. “I don’t know if there’s any better way to promote the Christmas spirit than being in a really small downtown that’s all decorated for Christmas with Christmas lights everywhere and getting to talk to the owners of these stores and see their hearts behind why they decorated their store like this specifically for Christmas.”
Tickets can be purchased online for $30 prior to the event. On the day of, tickets can be purchased during check-in at the Palace Theater for $35. All patrons must be 21 years old or older.