McALLEN — The first weekend of December will bring more than chilly temperatures to the area as Christmas in the Park returns Friday boasting plenty of festivities.

For the fourth annual event held at the McAllen Municipal Park, city officials and planners sought to go bigger in order to meet and exceed the 45,000 attendees of last year’s extravaganza.

This year, the tradition of the candlelight posada carries on, along with the marketplace tent in which vendors will showcase their original, handcrafted merchandise.

According to Maritza Muñoz, administrative assistant and special events coordinator for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, the artisan tent has been one of the largest attractions in years past. This year, an additional 10 vendors were invited, many of whom are making a special trip from various parts of Mexico.

Santa Claus will also make an appearance and plans to be available for photos with the youngsters in attendance. In addition, as many as 30 food vendors will be present to sell a variety of items, from turkey legs to funnel cakes to fajita tacos to fried Oreos.

Live music and caroling are planned for the event, where a community stage will host a number of performances from local folkorico groups, schools and church choirs. The main stage will be graced Friday by Jimmy Gonzalez and Grupo Mazz, and David Lee Garza y Los Musicales; Grupo Solido is slated for a Saturday performance.

The Dallas Cowboys traveling museum, courtesy of Pena Eye Institute, will also be on hand.

The event runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to midnight Saturday, coinciding with the Holiday Parade. Admission and parking will be free to the public.