At the start of Friday, think about how much you ate on Thursday, how the Cowboys went up against the Giants, where to shop, how to watch football or… well, maybe you’re back to work… consider it a respite before the push for Christmas begins.
As for entertainment, there is a lot planned here.
A lot of.
Including two Christmas concerts by A. Watson.
But that’s later.
Santa came to the mall last weekend, so we’re ready for the holiday.
Lights, lights and more lights
Starting Friday, another Winter Lightfest takes place, again in the winter wonderland of lights on EN 10th Street. The almost month-long event starts on Friday evening and runs until December 23rd. It is open on weekends and again from 19 to 23 December.
If you buy tickets online, they cost $12 for adults, $7 for youth, and are free for visitors 2 and under. Admission prices are $15 and $10.
Lights will flicker at the Abilene Zoo. “Christmas Celebration” is open from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm on December 16-23 at Nelson Park, where visitors can ice skate, watch ice sculptures being made, and see Christmas live.
Tickets are $16 for adults and youth ages 3-17, who also receive cookies and reindeer products. It’s free for those 2 and under.
Next up is City Sidewalks, which is scheduled for Tuesday night downtown. The highlight is the 34th Light Parade, which will run along Pine and Cypress Streets as usual, as well as through the south side of downtown Abilene around South Second Street and Oak Street.
More than 120 entries are expected. This is the biggest parade of the year in Abilene.
The theme of the parade is “Polar Wonderland”. It seemed impossible last summer when it was 110 degrees. But here we are. The forecast for Tuesday is a pleasant evening.
The city tree will glow. Mayor Anthony Williams will flip the switch for the last time – he recently announced that he will not run for a third term, despite the joy of lighting a large tree. It starts at 5:30 pm on the lawn in front of City Hall, with tree lighting at 6:30 pm.
Revolution Strings will perform.
City sidewalks this year will be reminiscent of the good old days. Due to the pandemic, Abilene ISD has not participated in the event for the past two years. However, this year, performances of all kinds of AISD musical groups are planned at different venues.
The music, of course, includes the Abilene Community Band performing under the Paramount Theater marquee about an hour before the parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Free to stand or sit on sun loungers to enjoy your favorite holiday songs performed by an all-volunteer band.
December 1-3 busy
On December 1 at the Wylie Performing Arts Center, country music star Travis Tritt performs a show that benefits Habitat for Humanity. And if you want to get a preview of the Outlaws & Legends Music Festival this spring, Micky & the Motorcars will be at Potosi Live on December 1st for the show. Mickey and the boys are among the bands lined up for the 12th annual outdoor music event.
December 2 is “Christmas in the Garden: Welcome to Narnia!” The event will be held twice – from 17:30 to 18:30 and from 18:30 to 20:00 – at the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden. The event will feature costumed characters, BackBeat performances, pop bands from Chorus Abilene, crafts, Queen Susan archery, beaver dinner, and tea with Tumnus.
Those familiar with the C.S. Lewis book series will understand how it all fits in.
The Grace Museum also has a children’s event, Grace’s Family Christmas, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm on December 8th. Santa will take a break at the mall and be there, and crafts for all ages will be on offer. . You can create a card, a deer necklace or a headband.
Also that night is The Beauty of Christmas, this year’s holiday show from the Celebration Singers at the Paramount Theater. This is a free event and the audience is usually packed to hear the songs of the season and enjoy the wit of host Larry “Gaffo” McGraw.
It’s free, but donations to the volunteer group are welcome.
On December 3rd, again at the convention center but inside, the Abilene Philharmonic’s annual gala performance will take place with special guests. There will be a shorter matinee dedicated to youth and a full performance at 7:30 pm at the Abilene Convention Center.
Last year’s holiday show marked the return of the symphony orchestra to downtown after being absent for much of the pandemic. But this year, the construction of the northern entrance was completed, which provides unhindered access to the center. The south side is under construction this year.
Two blocks away, at the Paramount, they’re showing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 7:30 p.m. Regular movie prices apply.
Much planned at Paramount
Paramount is definitely a recreation center.
- On December 7, this is the second live production of “Christmas Carol” presented by public radio station KACU. It’s from 7-9 pm
- On December 9-10, screenings of this year’s holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life” are held. The film starts at 7:30 every evening.
- On December 11, after two years of absence, the Abilene Opera Association will present a live performance of Handel’s Messiah. The singers will be accompanied by a live orchestra conducted by David Itkin, conductor of the Abilene Philharmonic.
- Two days later, the Abilene Community Band will be performing at the theater for a holiday show. It starts at 7:30 am and is free, but donations are also welcome.
- December 17 – “Return of the Nutcracker”. It features William Lee Martin and is billed as an evening of “holiday comedy, music and surprises”. Start at 20:00
- Aaron Watson, the country music singer who calls the Abilene area home, came home for the holidays with two nights of Aaron Watson’s Family Christmas.
So, popcorn will pop in the theater in the city center, which will soon turn 100 years old.
But wait, that’s not all.
From 18:00 to 20:00 on December 3 at the Zion Lutheran Church, “Journey to Bethlehem Sing Hymns” is planned. The church is at 2801 Antilly Road. Soup dinner follows the music.
It will be outside, but if the weather is not conducive, the participants will travel indoors.
From December 8 to 11, the Living Christmas Tree will be presented by Wylie Baptist Church. This work began in 1982, so this is a 40th anniversary presentation of Abilene Southwest Church. It is called the “King of Glory”.
At 7:00 pm on December 9, the Episcopal Church of Heavenly Rest will host “Baroque Nativity”, the December offering from the chamber music concert series.
On December 10 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, there are performances of “Once Upon a Christmas Eve” at the Abilene Convention Center, the annual event of the Patty Harper School of Dance. Tickets on sale from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm December 3 at the studio at 3114 North First St.
And if you’re up for a short ride – much shorter than what Santa had planned for Dec. 24 – Michael Martin Murphy returns to Pioneer Hall in Anson for the first of three nights of the Texas Cowboys Christmas Ball. He has a show on December 15th and West Texas western swing king Jody Nicks will be on stage for the next two nights.
While you are away, you can warm up at The Center for Contemporary if needed. There, unique photographs of Peggy Sheppard are exhibited in the Bill and Alice Wright Photo Gallery. The CCA is open Tuesday through Saturday and there is no charge to view.
And if you’re going to tour the city to see the holiday lights, remember that the Hardin-Simmons campus will be lit up.