SAN ANTONIO – A local group is sticking to a San Antonio tradition -- even if it means they have to put it together themselves.
This Is Texas Freedom Force announced it will host a Christmas celebration in Alamo Plaza on Dec. 16. The announcement comes after officials opted to move the annual H-E-B Christmas tree lighting event to Travis Park.
"Texans from all over are disappointed by this move because it has become tradition to take family photos beside the tree, in front of the Alamo," the announcement read. "In November Texans began taking small Christmas trees and leaving them in front of the Alamo only to be taken down minutes after they placed it there. It really seems that Texans want their Christmas celebration in front of the Alamo & TITFF is going to give it to them!"
Earlier this month, the city's Center City Development & Operations Department released a statement saying the celebration was moved in coordination with Alamo officials due to planned construction.
"Due to future construction related to the Alamo Master Plan Development, the tree lighting ceremony was already planned to be moved from Alamo Plaza in 2018," the release said. "The 2.6-acre Travis Park offers a larger space to host the 2017 holiday festivities than Alamo Plaza and will be easier for people to access as there is more available parking for visitors near Travis Park
Despite the move, H-E-B said it will still continue to sponsor a decorated 18-foot Christmas tree in Alamo Plaza. Additionally, City of San Antonio committed to continue the tradition of decorating Alamo Plaza with holiday lights.
TITFF vice president Brandon Burkhart said they are expecting more than 100 guests for their celebration. Burkhart said a preacher will kick off the event with a prayer and that a short Christmas story will be read. The group said it organized performances from a non-profit choir and secured two Santa Clauses -- one "Texas Santa Claus" and another "real Santa Claus."
The event will begin at 7 p.m.
The group is using the celebration as an opportunity to collect blanket donations for the elderly.