My family and I recently took advantage of a couple programs put on by the City of Baytown.

During the Halloween season, we took our daughter to the Spooktacular, a family friendly event hosted by and at the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center on Market Street.

The small, five-dollar entry fee allowed us to play games for candy while peeking at the all the animal exhibits normally there. There was face painting, a fortune teller, crafts, and a glow room. There was even a “mad scientist” conducting several different experiments. The whole building was decked in Halloween décor with spider webs, lights, and more, making the night all come together. To put it plainly, I was impressed, and our daughter had a fantastic time.

I also recently attended one of the many community yard sales that the city offers. Located in the town square, there were plenty of booths to browse. I’ve been to a couple before but don’t always find something. That’s the fun of it. The hunt. Before we left the house, my daughter mentioned she wanted to find a jewelry box. She’s been wanting one ever since we bought one for a friend’s birthday. I told her it might be hard to find something so specific. Yet, as we were going around, I spotted it: a tall white box covered in butterflies and flowers. She loved it, so we snagged it for a couple dollars.

These kinds of programs, along with many others are vital to a thriving community. They take a lot of work, but it’s worth it. These offerings inspire community members to get out of their houses and commune with others, even if they’re just standing side-by-side. It perpetuates a sense of belonging. Simply, it’s a local activity, so you don’t have to travel outside the city limits to find something to do. This is essential for families with small children.

There are many other activities and places to attend around the city, both seasonally and all year long. I look forward to attending the Christmas parade and Christmas on the Avenue. My daughter and I take advantage of the Sterling Municipal Library. We’ve attended the Tyke Hike at the Nature Center and visit city parks. We are currently attending the second installment of Messy Mitts at the community center. These activities and more are proof of a thriving city, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. These programs deserve our support.


Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.


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