BALLINGER - Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Ballinger on Saturday to get in the holiday spirit as Christmas in Olde Ballinger - a local tradition - got underway.

BALLINGER - Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Ballinger on Saturday to get in the holiday spirit as Christmas in Olde Ballinger - a local tradition - got underway.

Shoppers lined the streets early as local shops opened their doors for folks to enjoy the local, hometown shopping experience. It was as organizers said, not only held on Small Business Saturday, but was a respite for shoppers weary from the long lines and the Black Friday experience.

“It has been a busy day,” said Caroline Slaughter, of the Downtown Retail Merchants Association.

Plus more than 30 vendors were situated along Hutchins Avenue selling everything from gourmet jams and jellies, to Cajun shrimp, to home decor, jewelry and even herbs and spices.

“We’ve had a lot of folks stop by,” said Marc Walton, of Xanadu Acres in Mullin, where they were selling lavender and lavender products.

As merchants readied for the onslaught of shoppers, the annual parade got underway, led by the Ballinger Bearcat Band down Hutchins Avenue. There were participants from all over Runnels County including Winters, Miles and Rowena and all points in between.

And, even Santa Claus himself brought up the rear on one of the new Ballinger firetrucks.

As the parade traveled down the main drag, those on the floats and others, threw candy at the crowds, which stretched for four blocks down the street.

There were folks from all over the state in town too, including Susan Bruner from Buda.

“We are having a great time,” she said.