By Robin O’Neal Smith

Foley is an adorable Gulf Coast town teeming with festive cheer and feels like something straight out of a Hallmark movie. From the magnificent live trees draped in Christmas lights to the quaint park, community activities, and a hometown parade, Foley is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your favorite Hallmark movie — only this time it will be real!

Christmas In The Park

Heritage Park is in the center of downtown Foley, and just like in Hallmark movies, it is where the community gathers the first weekend in December to celebrate the upcoming holidays. The events begin on Friday evening with Christmas in the Park.

The park shines bright with all white lights at every entrance and throughout the park. Music plays in the background, and everywhere you look, there are lights — some in the shape of a snowflake, some in the form of angels, or in the shape of stars or hanging from the branches of a gigantic tree in the corner of the park.

A large pavilion painted white with white lights and other festive decorations is where the mayor talks to the people attending. He announces some contest winners, and Santa arrives to visit the children.

Festive Tree Lighting

In Hallmark fashion, the park has a countdown to light the giant Christmas Tree as the entire community watches with great anticipation. The tree is decorated in thousands of glittering white lights with red and gold ornaments.

A Fun Hometown Christmas Parade

Saturday is another community day, starting with the annual Foley Christmas Parade. The parade lasts approximately 45 minutes and includes everything from marching bands, twirling groups, fire trucks, floats, tractors and wagons, and more. Almost all the floats throw candy, and the streets are lined with people. We were fortunate to watch the parade from the balcony of the Hotel Magnolia, which was behind the announcer’s stand.

Let It Snow Celebration

After the parade, everyone gathers in the park again for the Let It Snow Celebration.

This family-friendly event has a variety of fun activities for the kids to participate in, such as crafts, face painting, photos with a mermaid, a petting zoo, and festive hair styling.

Just like in the Hallmark movie festivals, there was also a marketplace for crafts and goods.