Highland Lakes Holiday Happenings
’Tis the holiday season with Thanksgiving just a week a way and Christmas right around the corner. With so much to do to prepare, it’s easy to miss some of the holiday events and activities taking place across the Highland Lakes.
To help you plan, we’ve amassed a list of many of those upcoming events.
While there are some who make it a point to take in as many holiday events as possible, please know this isn’t a competition. Find a few you can enjoy with your family and friends and really experience the Christmas season.
There are some of the standards we all seem to make: Walkway of Lights (see page 1), Main Street Bethlehem, Starry Starry Nights, and a “Nutcracker” or two. Maybe it’s time to add a new one into the mix such as “Nollaig — A Celtic Christmas” or Christmas at Old Fort Croghan.
Who knows? You might establish a new tradition.
So here’s to you and yours having a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.
STARRY STARRY NIGHTS IN LLANO
If you’re looking for a big helping of holiday cheer, take in Starry, Starry Nights, a beautiful Christmas lights display along the Llano River in Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive in Llano.
It’s open 6-9 p.m. each day starting Friday, Nov. 24, and continuing through New Year’s Eve. Enjoy hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows while you stroll along looking at the lights and listening to the music.
If you’ve been to it once, you haven’t seen it all. For one thing, the cadre of volunteers and Llano Chamber of Commerce staff expand it each year.
On Friday and Saturday nights from 6-8 p.m., Santa Claus will make an appearance, so make sure the kids bring their Christmas lists.
And mark your calendar for the Lighted Christmas Parade at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in downtown Llano.
Go to llanochamber.org or call (325) 247-5354 for more information.
Read about local displays in the Highland Lakes Christmas Lights Guide.
LIGHTS SPECTACULAR IN JOHNSON CITY
The wonderful town of Johnson City south on U.S. 281 really starts glowing on Nov. 24.
The Blanco County Courthouse, 101 Pecan Drive, is draped with 100,000-plus bulbs. When the switch is flipped at 6:30 p.m., it kicks off the annual Lights Spectacular.
And we have it on a good authority that Santa plans to make an appearance that night.
The courthouse isn’t the only spot to enjoy the lights of Johnson City. Just south of the square is the Pedernales Electric Cooperative headquarters.
To find it, go across U.S. 290 past the Hill Country Science Mill and look for the lights. Trust us.
The building basks in the glow of more than 1.2 million LED lights.
Yes, that’s correct: 1.2 million. You can try to verify this, but we suspect you’ll be so caught up in the “oohs” and “aahs” that you’ll lose count.
What makes the PEC lights so special is how the staff weave them through the magnificent live oaks on the lawn, giving it a true Hill Country Christmas look.
It’s not just the headquarters in Johnson City that gets decked out in the Christmas spirit; PEC’s business and district offices across the Highland Lakes put on their holiday best as well.
The lights aren’t all: The annual Lighted Hooves and Wheels Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, around the courthouse square. It features several lighted floats, so expect a show.
Read about local displays in the Highland Lakes Christmas Lights Guide.
CHRISTMAS IN LBJ COUNTRY
A great event that will help you connect with the spirit of the season is Christmas at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, on Saturday, Nov. 25. Enjoy German holiday traditions at the park, located between Johnson City and Stonewall off U.S. 290, and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. You can try your hand at decorating gingerbread ornaments and Christmas cookies as well as learn a thing or two about candle and wreath making.
It’s alway possible St. Nicholas himself might show up.
And don’t miss the 47th annual LBJ Tree Lighting, which is 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18.
Go to tpwd.texas.gov for more information.
While we’re talking about parks related to the former president born and raised right here in the Texas Hill Country, why not get a taste of how he celebrated Christmas as a child?
The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Johnson City is hosting its lamp-lit tours of the LBJ Boyhood Home from 6-9 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 25, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, and Dec. 23.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, experience what a 1920s Christmas was like then step even further back in time to the 1860s thanks to the folks at the LBJ National Historical Park. Park rangers and volunteers will portray a 1920s Christmas at the LBJ Boyhood Home with authentic decorations and seasonal goodies.
Admission is free. The LBJ Boyhood Home is located on Elm Street between avenues G and F in Johnson City, south of U.S. 290. Call (830) 868-7128 for more information.
LIVING CHRISTMAS STORY IN JOHNSON CITY
If you’re in the Johnson City area for the LBJ tours, or just in the area shopping or visiting, go back in time to when it all started with a Living Christmas Story on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 1-2, at First United Methodist Church, 105 N. LBJ Drive.
The church recreates the first Christmas and shares the story of Jesus’s birth with live nativity scene. Volunteers and animals tell what happened that night more than 2,000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem.
The program starts at 6:30 p.m. each day and continues every half-hour until 8:30 p.m. Each show lasts about 10 minutes.
The church provides refreshments during the program.
Go to fumcjctx.org or call (830) 868-7414.
MAIN STREET BETHLEHEM IN BURNET
First Baptist Church of Burnet marks the 25th anniversary of its Main Street Bethlehem this year. The dedicated congregation members and volunteers started the annual first Christmas recreation with a few bed sheets and a couple of other makeshift items but have since transformed almost an entire city block into old Bethlehem.
When people enter, they are greeted by street merchants, beggars, shop keepers, Roman soldiers, craftspeople, and other Bethlehem residents from more than 2,000 years ago. Then, shepherds arrive talking about angels and telling residents and visitors about a baby born that night. “Have you seen him?” they ask.
Main Street Bethlehem has become a Christmas tradition for many, both far and near, as well as attracting new visitors each year.
It’s open 6-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 1-3 and 8-10. Gates are located at 300 E. Washington St.
Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Go to fbcburnet.org or call (512) 756-4481.
CHRISTMAS AT OLD FORT CROGHAN IN BURNET
While it’s not quite as far as into the past as the nativity scenes, Christmas at Old Fort Croghan shows what it was like during the holidays for early Burnet County settlers.
It’s 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Fort Croghan Museum, 703 Buchanan Drive (Texas 29 West) in Burnet.
The museum, which includes original cabins and structures from the mid- to late 1800s, brings together live music and volunteers in period clothes to create a truly wonderful experience.
Luminaries light the path as spectators go from building to building to see holiday decorations.
Admission and parking are free.
Go to www.fortcroghan.org or call (512) 756-8281.
SNOW DAY IN LLANO
We rarely get snow in the Highland Lakes, but there’s one day each winter you can count on it.
Llano’s annual Snow Day piles on a heap of the white stuff at Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive, on Saturday, Dec. 9, starting at 1 p.m. Kids can race down a hill in sleds (which are provided) or just play in the snow.
All you have to do is purchase a wristband, which is good for the entire day.
After a day of snow play, check out the Starry, Starry Nights display in the evening.
Go to llanochamber.org or call (325) 247-5354.
CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE IN BURNET
This year, Burnet’s Christmas on the Square is adding a little snow of its own.
The festival on Saturday, Dec. 9, envelopes the courthouse square with just about everything Christmas. You can spend the entire day from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. getting in the holiday spirit.
There will be vendors and music with a lot more going on. Plus, in the afternoon, a crew will build a nice hill of snow for some winter wonderland fun.
And don’t forget to stick around for the Christmas parade, which gets going at about 5 p.m. Of course, Santa Claus himself serves as the grand marshal.
Go to burnetchamber.org or call (512) 756-4297.
As long as we’re on festivals, you probably want to hightail it over to Kingsland on Saturday, Dec. 2, for the annual Kingsland Christmas at the Kingsland Convention and Community Center, 3454 Rose Hill Drive. The event is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and packs quite a bit into those four hours.
You’ll be able to shop some pretty cool local vendors as well as partake in a fish fry fundraiser. For the younger ones, check out the Kids’ Corner and ’Twas The Night Before Christmas with Mrs. Claus.
Call (325) 388-3321 for more information.
One of the great things about the holidays is the music, and the Highland Lakes enjoys a wealth of concerts and musical events this season.
BRUCE ROBISON AND KELLY WILLIS’S HOLIDAY SHINDIGThe Globe Theatre in Bertram welcomes Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis on Friday, Dec. 1, as the husband-and-wife duo presents their Holiday Shindig. The Shindig tour has been a Texas favorite for almost two decades, and this year, the Globe was added to the schedule.
Doors for the all-ages show open at 7 p.m. The concert starts at 8 p.m. There’s an open dance floor.
Go to globetheatretx.com for tickets and more information.
HEART OF TEXAS ORCHESTRA
The music continues Sunday, Dec. 3, at First Baptist Church of Marble Falls when the Heart of Texas Orchestra puts on its community-wide Christmas concert from 6-7:30 p.m.
The orchestra consists of Highland Lakes musicians who just love performing music and bringing the joy of the season to people through their shows.
Admission is free.
The church is located at 901 La Ventana Drive in Marble Falls.
HILL COUNTRY COMMUNITY BAND
This musical tour moves to the Marble Falls Public Library at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, for the Hill Country Community Band’s Christmas concert.
In the past, the library staff has pulled chairs from just about every conceivable place they could find them to provide seats for all the attendees. This is a direct reflection of the talent and musical abilities of the Hill Country Community Band. The group of music lovers will perform classic Christmas tunes in a variety of styles.
Every person leaves the concert with a smile and a little more holiday cheer in their hearts.
Admission is the just-right price of free.
The library is located at 101 Main St. in Marble Falls
‘NOLLAIG — A CELTIC CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION’
For an Irish twist on the season, The Here & Now is hosting its annual “Nollaig — A Celtic Christmas Celebration” from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Uptown Sound Studio, 218 Main St. in Marble Falls.
They’ll be joined by two Irish dancers and Celjun, a band that combines Irish, Cajun, and Appalachian music.
Another great thing about his concert, other than the music, is it benefits The Phoenix Center of Texas, which provides high-quality mental health care for children as well as parenting classes.
MARBLE FALLS HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR AND BAND
Enjoy the always incredible Marble Falls High School choir’s Christmas concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, in the school auditorium, 2101 Mustang Drive.
This is truly one special concert as the choir performs many of the Christmas classics and standards.
Admission is free.
On Thursday, Dec. 14, head back to the auditorium for the Marble Falls High School band’s Christmas performance from 7:30-9 p.m.
Like the choir concert, it’s free to attend, so just show up and enjoy.
For more holiday happenings, go to 101HighlandLakes.com/EVENTS.
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