Family fun trips encourage festivity this season
By Bonny Osterhage
It can sometimes be hard to catch the holiday spirit when you live in South Texas and the temperature rarely drops below 80 degrees. But believe it or not, you can experience the magic of old-fashioned holidays (and maybe even see some snow) by taking a short drive into the Texas Hill Country and visiting one of the 11 communities participating in the 2009 Hill Country Lighting Trail.
Thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights, parades, horse-drawn carriages and, of course, appearances by the Big Guy himself are just a few of the things to experience. The following are just a few highlights, but for a complete list of festivities visit www.tex-fest.com.
Boerne: The quaint town of Boerne is transformed into a Dickens Village on Friday, Dec. 5 with costumed shopkeepers and horse-drawn carriages. December 20 and 21 brings the Cowboy Christmas at Enchanted Springs Ranch. An active western town and movie set has shows, hayrides, caroling, a petting zoo and a Cowboy Santa.
Burnet: The little town of Bethlehem is recreated in the little town of Burnet. Main St. Bethlehem will be open the first two weekends in December (only)-Dec. 5, 6, 7 & 12, 13, 14. Walk the streets of the ancient town of Bethlehem from 6 to 9 p.m., located on Washington St. 1 block south of Hwy. 29, at Vanderveer St. Step through the city gates, and begin your journey back in time. Authentically costumed townspeople bargain at the city market, draw water from the well, bake bread and pay taxes to the tax collector. As you walk through the village, watch out for the camels, donkeys and other animals! As you near the exit, you will see Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in a cave.
Fredericksburg: It may seem hard to believe but during December the Fredericksburg Marktplatz is home to an outdoor ice skating rink. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country Fredericksburg is filled with events and decorations flavored by its German and frontier heritage.
Llano: If snow is what you want, snow is what you will get in Llano. Saturday, December 13 is Snow Day. Beginning at 1 p.m., kids of all ages can come enjoy the snow and tube down the snow hill.
Marble Falls: Romance abounds in the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights. The self-guided winter wonderland walk will dazzle you with the largest lighted pole-tree boasting over 17,000 multi-colored lights and a lighted tunnel touting over 12,000 clear bulbs. This lighted wonderland will fill your holiday season with enchantment.