Explore The Texas Trail Of Lights This Holiday Season

            Explore The Texas Trail Of Lights This Holiday Season

Dazzling light displays and events illuminate the Lone Star State

PR Newswire

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 20, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --With the holiday season just
around the corner, Texas is decking the halls and trimming the trees from the
Gulf Coast to the Panhandle Plains. The range of holiday celebrations in Texas
is as diverse as its regions, with millions of lights leading the way to
seasonal fun throughout the state.

"Holidays in Texas mean tradition, and we are proud to share our favorite
festive happenings with visitors. With all of the events, attractions and
celebrations in store, Texas is the perfect place to make lasting holiday
memories," said Brad Smyth, Tourism Director for the Governor's Office of
Economic Development and Tourism.

During the holiday season, hundreds of statewide lighting ceremonies are
guaranteed to delight. From a parachuting Santa to holiday train rides, the
ways to celebrate among the sparkling Texas lights are truly endless. Below is
a sampling of festivities taking place this year. In addition to lighting
ceremonies, visitors can enjoy home tours, train rides, market days,
world-class shopping and more throughout the Lone Star State.

Gulf Coast

  oFestival of Lights at Moody Gardens: November 10-January 5, Galveston
    Santa himself will kick off the 11th annual Festival of Lights on November
    10 by parachuting in to flip the switch to a mile-long trail of more than
    1.8 million lights and 100 sound-enhanced, animated light displays, before
    heading over to the South Atlantic exhibit to feed the penguins. Guest can
    also enjoy an outdoor ice rink, holiday film screenings and snow tubing.
  oUptown Holiday Lighting: November 22, Houston
    Every year on Thanksgiving evening, thousands gather for the annual Uptown
    Houston Holiday Lighting. This free family event features festive music by
    local groups, holiday characters, a special appearance from Santa,
    fireworks, and the lighting of more than 500,000 twinkling lights. After
    enjoying the lights head over to the nearby Galleria, the fourth largest
    shopping domain in the world, to get in some early holiday shopping.
  o63rd Annual Holiday Parade: November 22, Houston
    One of Houston's most cherished traditions, the Annual Holiday Parade
    brings 400,000 visitors to the parade route and nearly two million TV
    viewers at home. Promenading around downtown Houston are six floats and
    six enormous helium-filled balloon figures, joined by local marching
    bands, musicians and performers.
  oDickens on The Strand: December 1-2, Galveston
    For two days in December, The Strand in Galveston transforms into bustling
    Victorian London from the days of Charles Dickens. Hundreds of costumed
    performers, bagpipers and carolers provide constant entertainment on The
    Strand, with even the Queen making a special appearance.
  oChanukah On Ice: December 9, Houston (www.chanukahinhouston.com)
    Houston is skating into the holidays with Chanukah On Ice at the Galleria
    Mall Ice Rink. Join Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot, in skating around
    the ice menorah and meet Judah the Maccabee before sampling the Chanukah
    gelt and latkes.

Hill Country

  oTexas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail: November 1-January 1
    Bandera, Blanco, Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Johnson
    City, Kerrville, Llano, Marble Falls and Wimberley make up the impressive
    Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail. Holiday fun can be
    found all along the trail, with festivals, parades, caroling, holiday
    markets and more for visitors to enjoy.
  oZilker Park Christmas Tree Lighting and Trail of Lights: December 16-23,
    Austin (www.austintrailoflights.org)
    A beloved Austin tradition, the Trail of Lights is a mile-long, lighted
    winter wonderland kicked off by the lighting of the huge Zilker Tree on
    December 16. The festivities continue through December 23, with theme
    nights, carolers, musicians and dancers making each and every night a
    special experience.

Big Bend Country

  oFrontier Christmas: November 30-December 8, Fort Davis
    The Christmas celebration in Fort Davis begins on November 30 with
    caroling in the town square, followed by cocoa and cookies to warm up
    before the lighting ceremony. On December 8, a holiday parade leads to the
    local library for a visit with Santa.
  oSan Jacinto Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting: December 1, El Paso
    The 77th annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony celebrates the holidays
    with entertainment and the lighting of the 50-foot Christmas tree,
    decorated with 10,800 bulbs and more than 500 ornaments. The annual
    lighted Christmas parade follows the tree lighting.

Panhandle Plains

  oTour of Lights: December 7-31, Concho (www.conchochristmascelebration.com)
    As part of the Concho Christmas Celebration, the Tour of Lights is a 2.5
    mile drive through three million lights along the banks of the Concho
    River. One of the highlights of the tour is the glittering garden of 20
    red and green poinsettia light displays, made up of more than 25,600
  oSanta Land: December 10-23, Lubbock
    Now in its 56th consecutive year, Santa Land is a beloved Lubbock
    tradition that encompasses Christmas tree lightings, carols, and visits
    from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree
    marks the official opening of Santa Land on December 10.

Prairies and Lakes

  oSanta's Wonderland: November 16-December 30, College Station
    This dazzling holiday attraction earns its name with a sparkling light
    display of 2.5 million bulbs that stretches more than 37 acres. The fun
    continues in the nostalgic "Texas Christmas Village" where visitors of all
    ages can enjoy train rides, barbecue, holiday movies, a petting zoo and
    even a mechanical bull.
  oChristmas Capital of Texas® Kickoff: November 19, Grapevine
    Grapevine earns its name as the "Christmas Capital of Texas" with more
    than 1,400 Christmas events in 40 days. The festivities officially open
    with the Kickoff on November 19, where Tom T. Turkey is pardoned by Santa
    Claus and the mayor just in time for Thanksgiving. Dallas-based national
    pop musician Bean will give a special performance, and children can enjoy
    ornament-making and visits with the World's Tallest Elf. In addition,
    December 1 marks the Twinkle Light Boat Parade, one of the state's most
    original holiday parades. Lake Grapevine transforms into a glittering
    spectacle with festively lit watercraft brightening the night.
  oWhistle Stop Christmas: November 19-December 31, Cleburne
    3.5 million lights decorate Hulen Park each year in Cleburne. The
    festivities begin with the annual Christmas parade downtown, followed by
    pictures with Santa and live entertainment.
  oChesapeake Energy Parade of Lights: November 23, Fort Worth
    To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the annual Fort Worth holiday parade
    will have a special extended route for this year's theme: "The Wonder Of
    It All!" More than 100 brightly lit entries make up the parade, flocked
    with antique cars, local marching bands, horse-drawn carriages and holiday
    characters. The parade concludes with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus,
    and the illumination of the 55-foot tall Christmas tree in Sundance
  oChristmas in the Square: November 23-January 6, Frisco
    The largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas
    takes place in Frisco, just north of Dallas. Now in its seventh year,
    Christmas in the Square draws more than 650,000 visitors annually to
    experience this holiday extravaganza, complete with real snow and a
    parachuting Santa.
  oHoliday Lighting Festival: November 30, Denton
    Capture the true spirit of a small-town holiday celebration at the 24th
    annual Holiday Lighting Festival in Denton's Historic Courthouse Square,
    where the mayor and one lucky child flip the switch to light up the
    20-foot tree. Photos with Santa, horse drawn wagon rides and delicious
    food are available throughout the square.
  oChristmas Medical Center Holiday Parade: December 1, Dallas
    Each year in Dallas over 350,000 spectators gather to watch this annual
    holiday parade, benefiting the Children's Medical Center. Now in its 25th
    year, local marching bands and performance groups entertain along the
    parade route amongst the colorful floats and giant balloon characters.

Piney Woods

  oLighting of the Doves: November 17, The Woodlands
    Lighting of the Doves kicks off the holiday season in The Woodlands with
    interactive booths and games, a snow play area, balloon artists, face
    painters, inflatables, ice carvers, amazing fireworks and more. The
    celebration concludes with the arrival of Santa on a decorated boat on The
    Woodlands Waterway.
  oWonderland of Lights Festival: November 21-December 31, Marshall
    From the opening lighting ceremony on November 21 to the midnight ball
    drop on December 31, the Wonderland of Lights Festival encompasses the joy
    of the holidays in Marshall. Other events include the Wonderland 5k Run
    and Walk and a lighted Christmas parade through town.
  oRail of Lights: November 22-December 23, Jefferson
    Step back in time aboard a 50-year-old steam train on the Historic
    Jefferson Railway. The train circles the Piney Woods along the Big Cypress
    Bayou past nativity scenes, a German Market, a General Store, the Angel
    Tree, and sparkling light displays.

South Texas Plains

  oFord Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony: November 23, San Antonio
    Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the River Walk's giant
    cypress trees are illuminated with 122,000 shimmering lights. The annual
    lighting ceremony and parade is a San Antonio tradition that dates back
    over 30 years, with generations of families enjoying the characters,
    music, and costumes of this annual event.
  oCandlelight Posada: December 8, McAllen (www.exploremcallen.com/events)
    This year marks the 30th anniversary of McAllen's Candlelight Posada.The
    event kicks off with a caroling nativity procession, followed by a
    Christmas parade and the lighting of the Mayor's Christmas tree.

For more information about family-friendly events while on a winter getaway to
the Lone Star State, visit www.TravelTex.com and find us on Twitter
(@texastourism), Facebook and Pinterest.

About Tourism in Texas

Visitors to Texas enhance the state and local economies as evidenced by $63
billion in total travel spending in 2011 and more than 200 million domestic
visitors last year. Travel and tourism directly supported 530,000 Texan jobs
and generated $4 billion in local and state taxes in 2011.

SOURCE Texas Tourism

Website: http://www.TravelTex.com
Contact: Reid Schwartz, +1-512-634-3667, reid.schwartz@edelman.com, or Abby
Van Uum, +1-512-634-3642, abigail.vanuum@edelman.com, Edelman Southwest
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