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November/December 2019

Since 1990 people | places music | events | parks wildlife | shopping lodging | dining | more


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Home Decor Store, Custom Window Treatments, Interior Design, Gifts & More Locally owned & operated 10827 W. Hwy. 290, Suite 110, Austin • 512-296-2423 • highcottonhomedesign.com November/December 2019 Hill Country SUN   3


INDEX

HENLY

Texas Hill Country Locator Map

© 2019 by TD Austin Lane, Inc.

Austin J5 Bandera B10 Bergheim D9 Bertram I2 Blanco F6 Boerne D9 Buchanan Dam F2 Buda J7 Bulverde G10 Burnet G2 Camp Verde B8 Canyon Lake G9 Castroville C12 Center Point B8 Clear Springs H11 Comfort C8 Concan A11 Driftwood H7 Dripping Springs H6 Fischer G8 Fredericksburg C5 Georgetown K2 Granite Shoals G2 Gruene H10 Hancock G8 Helotes G6 Henly G6 Highland Lakes F2/3 Hondo B13 Hunt A7 Hye E6

Ingram B7 Johnson City F5 Kendalia F8 Kerrville B7 Kingsland F2 Kyle I8 Lampasas G1 Leakey A9 Llano D2 Liberty Hill I12 Luckenbach D6 Luling K10 Marble Falls G3 Martindale J9 Mason B2 Medina A9 New Braunfels H10 Oak Hill I6 Oatmeal H2 Pipe Creek C10 Round Rock K3 San Antonio F12 San Marcos I9 Sattler H9 Seguin I11 Sisterdale D8 Spring Branch F9 Startzville G9 Stonewall D6 Utopia A10 Vanderpool A9 Wimberley H8

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T

he holidays are upon us! Such an exciting and fun time of year...time for family and friends and lots of memories to be made. A time when family traditions are carried out or maybe just beginning. In this issue, you will find some of the great people, places and events in the Hill Country that will leave you grateful, jolly, and well, just feeling good! You’re sure to discover unique and fun finds on your shopping list at Gruene Market Days, Christmas on the Frio in Leakey and Oma’s Craft Show in Boerne. More great family events include North Pole Village in Canyon Lake, Christmas in Comfort, EmilyAnn’s Trail of Lights in Wimberley, Leakey’s Festivity of Lights, Town Lighting in Gruene and Wimberley’s Winter’s Eve. Be sure to explore the many places to shop and dine in this issue, where you’ll find exceptional family-owned stores and restaurants. Shopping and eating local is so important and much appreciated, as well as utilizing the many local services around our area. If you’re looking for music and arts entertainment, Boerne Performing Arts presents some amazing acts, while just outside Dripping Springs, Mercer Street Dancehall hosts an impressive lineup of performers from across the Hill Country, Be sure to read more about David Lee, a talented singer songwriter featured in this issue. Cheers to those of you looking for adult holiday beverages! Hill Country Distillers in Comfort or Cypress Creek Reserve in Wimberley are sure to make you quite joyful! Please remember: don’t drink and drive. Lots of shuttles in the Hill Country can help with that. Make it an extra special season with an overnight getaway out in the Hill Country! There are some destinations in this issue that you truly just need to go discover for yourself. I promise you will not be disappointed! Memories are sure to be made and you will also find places to which you want to return time and time again. The people, places and events in the Hill Country are spectacular! I am so thankful for everyone that supports us as readers, followers on Facebook and advertisers with each issue of the Sun. I believe in you! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all of you!

— Julie

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Driftwood Bistro BY COLLEEN BROOKS

I

f you’ve ever been to the Driftwood Estate Winery, you most likely have fond memories relaxing at the top of the bluff overlooking the Hill Country while enjoying their award-winning wines. Now, dining can also be found as local restauranteur Mark Sewell has opened The Driftwood Bistro on the winery grounds. “My wife Lisa and I have been wine club members at The Driftwood Estate winery for many years, Mark explains. We enjoy it so much that we had our wedding there in 2014. When we decided to open our restaurant on the property, we knew we’d adopt the same look and feel, and create a menu that complements the wine from the winery so guests can enjoy it on a different level.” Mark describes his menu as “eclectic with a unique global influence”. “We created a menu that allows for guests to have either an entrée or tapas-inspired appetizers,” Mark explains. “If you visit the bistros in Europe, you’ll notice the menus are handwritten and they rotate their offerings seasonably. We also try to keep things fresh and change up the menu frequently, adding items with a global influence so our guests can experience food from all over, since wine is enjoyed all over the world with different pairings. Although menu items change seasonably, offerings have included Bacon Wrapped Quail, Greek Chicken, Croque Monsier, a German Sausage Plate, Mexican Street Corn, and a Charcuterie Board, in addition to Ribeye Quesadillas, Spicy Noodles with Sliced Ribeye, a Roasted Corn and Heirloom Tomato Penne, a Fruit and Cheese Board, salads, and their signature Bistro Burger. Their winter menu will reflect the tastes of the season. The bistro is open on weekends and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Diners on the terrace will enjoy the sweeping views overlooking the hill country, and indoor guests will be able to take in the views from the large windows in the winery’s original tasting room. Reservations are required for parties of six or more. Their Sunset Dinner Series will return in the spring with four-course themed sunset dinners every other Thursday until November. Past themes have included End of Summer Picnic, Classic Americana, Italian Countryside, and Oktoberfest. Mark explains, “Our sunset dinners are available by reservation only. We limit it to 48 diners so everyone can enjoy the winery’s million-dollar view, the sunset, food, wine, and time with friends and family while making memories in our beautiful hill country.” The Driftwood Estate Winery is available for private events and The Driftwood Bistro is pleased to offer full catering services with an extensive catering menu. The pairing is an ideal location for bridal showers, birthday parties, and rehearsal dinners. The bistro also provides off-site catering for parties, weddings, etc. Mark’s wife Lisa smiles, “It’s impossible to have a bad day when you’re at this property. Come and take in the views, indulge in small bites or an entrée, have a glass of wine, and experience classic hill country relaxation.”

Charcuterie spread. Photo courtesy Driftwood Bistro.

Bacon wrapped quail. Photo courtesy Laura Elliott.

Wine and dine with a beautiful view. Photo courtesy Laura Elliott.

The Driftwood Bistro is located at The Driftwood Estate Winery at 4001 Elder Hill Road in Driftwood. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm. For information, call 737-414-0222, or visit the website at www.thedriftwoodbistro.com. Please note: The Bistro is closed to the public four Sundays a year for the Driftwood Estate Winery Wine Club member parties. Please check their Facebook page for events and announcements.

Hill Country SUN   6 November/December 2019

Bistro quesadillas. Photo courtesy Driftwood Bistro.


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Stroll, shop and experience Winter’s WIMBERLEY H The Wimberley Merchant’s Association proudly presents the annual Winter’s Eve holiday celebration in and around the Wimberley Square December 14 from 5 pm to 9 pm. Guests can enjoy a lively and fun filled evening of live music on multiple stages, gift basket drawings, food and drink vendors, children’s activities, face painting, and more. And don’t miss Santa, who will be on hand to visit with young and old from 5 pm to 7 pm behind the Wimberley Cafe. For information, visit wimberleymerchants.com.

Eve December 14


David Lee BY ERNIE ALTGELT

F

gifted musician, writer, singer & teacher

or most of us, the sum of our lives can be characterized by the many varied experiences that make us who we are and ultimately, who we become. These experiences can inspire, motivate and shape our very existence hopefully resulting in accomplishment, satisfaction and, in the best of cases, the betterment of those we encounter along the way. For Spring Branch’s gifted musician, writer, singer and teacher David Lee, it has been the power of song (with all of its diverse associations) that has, and continues to define so much of his appropriately-lauded life – a life that’s touched so many in its emotive melodic wake. Born in Wichita Falls but nurtured within several North Texas communities, David was blessed with a family imbued with the musical spirit. As he recalls, “My grandfather was a performing guitarist and singer in the 1930s. After he died at an early age, my father took up the guitar. Eventually becoming good enough to earn a living through his music (that required gigging at diverse venues in a variety of genres), it was in the honkytonks where I became smitten while watching him on stage.” David was not yet a teenager when he realized that he also wanted to devote his professional life to music. Penning his first song at age 12, the young man continued to write and perform throughout his early years wowing crowds who came to appreciate David’s stirring compositions rendered, as he matured, in a smooth, comforting Texas baritone. However, even with a following, as he recalls, “Touring and singing my songs in bars could be a lonely, soul-crushing experience depending on the audiences encountered. I finally decided that a move to Nashville was in the cards. I wanted and, more importantly, needed to be around others working and writing for the greater music industry.” With $300 and an understanding new bride, the 24-year-old headed to Tennessee full of hope, energy, determination and, most importantly, talent. In a few short years filled with a lot of writing and a little luck, David inked his first publishing deal with the Mark Hall Direction Company. Remembering this seminal event, he offers, “I was only paid $200.00 a week but, I was now a pro!” Shortly after that signing his first song was sold, a tune called “This Old Heart,” which was recorded by the popular Terri Clark. The next year, Lee Ann Womack made his “Now You See Me” a top ten hit. With these successes and the recognition garnered, David began to enjoy some of the personal and emotional security he initially sought when he first made his decision to go to Nashville. Eventually moving over to larger representation firms, his creations began turning up on multiple media playlists earning kudos from audiences across the nation and, of equal importance, from his fellow professionals – singers, studio musicians, producers, agents and many others. Examples of his acceptance as an exceptional writer include numerous Top 10 hits (“Letters From Home,” “Lucky Man”), a number 2 “song of the decade” (“19 Something”) and even a Grammy nomination when

David Lee. Photo courtesy David Lee,

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw dueted on his heart-felt “I Need You.” David’s expertise in masterful composition continues to be showcased by country artists across all spectrums as additional songs come on line. To date, his published songs number in the hundreds. But fortunately for those of us in the Hill Country who have missed not having him close, after 24 fruitful years in Nashville, David “came back home” settling near Spring Branch just off his much loved “Highway 281 South” which he calls the “best place to be in Texas.” Following decades of primarily writing and working “behind the scenes” in Tennessee, now he’s performing again and his rabid fans are loving every minute. Still writing, producing and recording new material (not to mention encouraging and nurturing new talent), today David Lee and his Jose Armadillo Band can be found playing the same (as well as many of his old favorites) at venues across his home state. If you’re one of the few not familiar with him and/or his incredible work one visit to his comprehensive website will reassure that David Lee is truly a Texas treasure and, the next time he’s in your neighborhood, not to be missed. Yep, with such a pedigree as his, David Lee’s life really can be defined in song and the listening is pretty darn sweet too. Thanks for the melodies, Mr. Lee! For more information about David Lee, his music, current albums and calendar dates, visit the website at davidleemusic.com.


Boerne Performing Arts 2020 Season

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Australia’s The Tap Pack performs March 17, 2020. Photo courtesy The Tap Pack. BOERNE H Boerne Performing Arts presents the 2020 Season, “HotHot-Hot!” You won’t believe your ears as you experience the sounds of Voctave, rising superstars of the A Cappella world, performing January 30, 2020. The group’s professional roots reach back to the Voice of Liberty at Walt Disney World, and their show blends a magical evening of Disney and Broadway Showstoppers. Don’t miss The Tap Pack - a sizzling show of mind-blowing tap dance, smooth vocals, a live swingin’ jazz band, and witty on-stage banter Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Inspired by the infamous “Rat Pack,” The Tap Pack hails from Australia with a high-energy performance featuring five of Australia’s finest tap dancing performers. Momix combines athletic dance, riveting music, outrageous costumes, and unbelievable illusions Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Transporting audiences from everyday lives to a fantasy world through trademark use of magical lighting and imagery, Momix has audiences searching for another gravity. All performances at 7:30 pm at Boerne Champion Auditorium. For more information, call 830-331-9079 or visit BoernePerformingArts.com.

EmilyAnn’s Holiday

CypressCreekReserve.com Tours available for groups of 4 or more! Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere on our cocktail patio & tree house deck! Tastings, Cocktails & Bottle Sales Available Tues-Thurs 11:30 am-5:30 pm Fri & Sat 11 am-6 pm

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Trail of Lights

WIMBERLEY H The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens’ 22nd Annual Holiday Trail of Lights features more than 100 exhibitors from businesses, churches, schools, civic organizations and families, as well as entertainers, food vendors and nightly Yule Log hosts in a holiday tradition beloved by locals and visitors alike. An eight acre walking trail winds through a glittering array of lighted displays – some religious in theme, others patriotic, whimsical, or simply storybook magical. Then there’s the lure of the Yule log, where you can drink cocoa, toast marshmallows and enjoy a variety of entertaining performers from gospel singers, and folk dancers to bell choirs, school and church choirs. The 2019 season kicks off with a special opening ceremony at the top of the hill November 30 at 5 pm, with Santa in his house and ready to receive visitors. The trail opens at 6 pm, open every evening following through December 28. Bring the family and make some holiday memories!

The 22nd Annual Trail of Lights at EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens is November 30 through December 28. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm, open ’til 10 pm Friday and Saturday. No admission charge, donations greatly appreciated. Additional parking available at Wimberley High School. For information, visit the website at emilyann.org.

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Gruene for holiday events this season BY ERNIE ALTGELT

I

t seems like every small town in Texas does something special for the holiday season – a parade (see the story about the Schwabs in Comfort on page 16), a tree lighting, shopping opportunities, lots of music, singing, and well, you get the picture. Really, it’s all pretty wonderful how each small community seems to excel at certain seasonal offerings with the intent of showing, and sharing, their particular patch of Texas. And in this regard, to many, the height of holiday heraldry is nowhere more evident throughout November and December than in high energy Gruene. This small Historic District in New Braunfels, known throughout the year for its extraordinary entertainment opportunities, somehow seems to kick it up a notch during this festive time, giving locals and visitors alike just about everything that the first weeks in November through New Year’s Eve are supposed to be. Yep, with so much on tap, you might just call this lively District Gruene the Hill Country’s ho, ho holiday hero! With its anchoring dance hall featuring daily live music coupled with excellent eateries, superb shops and an unsurpassed ability at playing the host to thousands on a very regular basis, Historic Gruene is superbly suited to recalibrate its efforts towards the promotion of merrymaking and good cheer by staging a series of notto-be missed holiday-oriented events that would be a blast at any time. But, ‘tis the season, so read on for a taste of year-end fun all served up like nowhere else but only as Gruene Historic District can…and does! While there’s always lots of stuff going on every day, specifically regarding the Yule season, the Sip-N-Shop event on November 12 offers visitors a chance to find unique gifts while sampling complementary beverages at some of its eclectic emporiums. With more shopping in mind, on the weekends starting on November 16 and December 7, the township’s Old Gruene Market Days will certainly draw an eager crowd. Established three and a half decades ago, this year’s effort promises up to 100 worthy artisans of-

fering myriad gift selections including affordable art, crafts, toys, food items and more. Making multiple appearances throughout November and December, Cowboy Kringle, Historic Gruene’s very own Santa, will again be on the grounds and ready to pose with one and all for some special pictures. And, what is Thanksgiving Day without a genuine Turkey Trot? The youngsters will chase a real gobbler while mom and dad participate in a fund-raising 5K run/walk. It’s a hoot that benefits worthwhile local charities to boot. If that wasn’t enough, on December 7th the Gruene Historic District will be visited by Pony Express Riders from the Heritage Trail Ride Association carrying a “Christmas Greeting” from the Texas governor. A temporary post office will be operating where visitors can mail cards and letters which will be canceled with the 2019 commemorative stamp representing Gruene. Later that same day, a little “Bah Humbug” takes the stage. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will come alive thanks to award-winning stage actor Damian Gillen – who amazingly, and convincingly, plays all of the roles! And lastly, as evening nears, Cowboy Kringle will ride into town on horseback and flip the switch for the “ooh” and “ahh” producing Gruene Town Lighting. At each event, there will be plenty of delicious food and drink for purchase. Throughout both months a series of seasonal-appropriate concerts are scheduled featuring the likes of such greats as Wynonna & The Big Noise Rockin’ Roots Christmas, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison’s Holiday Shindig, Kevin Fowler and his Deck the Dancehalls Tour and to close out the year, spend New Year’s Eve with Charlie Crockett. And, let’s not forget the soul-stirring Gospel Brunch in early December. Now how’s that for a ho ho holiday – Gruene style? All in all, it’s a pretty cool package. See you there!

Gruene Historic District is located on New Braunfels’ northern edge just off IH 35. Take IH 35 to Exit 191 (Canyon Lake, FM 306), go west 1.5 miles then turn left at the traffic light at Hunter road and travel one half mile to the town. You’ll find plenty of free parking. For additional information on November and December happenings including performance dates and, to purchase tickets, visit holidaysingruene.com or call 830-606-1601.

LEFT Gruene Historic District’s Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar decked out for holidays. Photo by Jim Flynn. ABOVE Gruene’s Cowboy Kringle. Photo by Dan Tharp.


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Holiday Lights & More Visit Main Street Bethlehem in Burnet, as the ancient city of Christ’s birth comes alive with costumed actors and animals recreating the birth of Jesus. Free admission. December 6-8 and 13-15, from 6 pm to 9 pm each evening. 300 E. Washington Street, Burnet TX 78611. fbcburnet.org.

Light, motion and holiday spirit create the Light the Night Parade down historic Main Street, illuminated for the holiday season December 6 at 6:30 pm, followed by Afterglow celebration and more. 130-plus holiday entries are expected to take part. fredericksburg-texas.com.

Take the family for a drive through more than a mile of winding country roads at Santa’s Ranch, see beautiful lights, animated Christmas displays, and enjoy homemade hot cocoa, and snacks. November 8 - January 4, 2020. Open 6 pm-10 pm Sunday through Thursday (‘til 11 pm Friday and Saturday). More at santasranch.net.

Lights Spectacular in Johnson City is surely worth the drive! More than a million lights fill three city blocks including the Courthouse,City Park and ​Pedernales Electric Co-op headquarters. Don’t miss it! November 29 through January 5, 2020. johnsoncitytexas.info.

The beautiful Blanco Courthouse will be draped in lights and the town square surrounding fully lit with twinkling lights for the delight and pleasure of all. And don’t miss visits with Santa in the courthouse. For more information, please call the Blanco Chamber of Commerce at 830-833-5101. 101 East Pecan Street.

More than two million lights and 400 lighted sculptures sparkle on the banks of Lake Marble Falls. The Walkway of Lights is a free event in Lakeside Park, donations welcome. Open November 22 - January 1, 2020, 6 pm to 10 pm each evening. 305 Buena Vista Drive. marblefalls.org.

Don’t miss Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park. November 23 - January 1 from 6 pm - 9 pm. Sipping hot chocolate, strolling along the Llano River enjoying all of the displays that light up Badu Park. It’s a great place to celebrate the season with family and friends. Santa Claus will be in the park Friday & Saturday evenings from 6 pm to 8 pm November 23 through December 22.

Don’t miss the EmilyAnn Theatre’s Holiday Trail of Lights, where you can stroll six acres enjoying beautiful displays by community members and businesses, roast marshmellows around the Yule log and enjoy holiday entertainment. Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted. November 30 to December 28 from 6 pm to 9 pm (open ‘til 10 pm Friday and Saturdays).


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November/December 2019 Hill Country SUN   13


Hill Country Wildlife W 10 simple ways that

A COLUMN by C.J. WRIGHT

ith September breaking records for hottest on record and summer hanging on into early October, many birds delayed migrating south till the approach of that strong cold front that caused temperatures to plummet from above average to below average readings. Around that time, monarch butterflies also sailed into Texas, and folks were out to watch, enjoy, and count both birds and butterflies. Wildlife is fascinating. Who isn’t inspired by the 3,000- mile-flight of the graceful monarchs, that wing their way from Canada to Mexico? We delight in the vibrant plumages of male Painted Buntings or male Blue Grosbeaks, the song of a Wood Thrush, or the antics of a Tricolored Heron when searching for fish in coastal waters. Yet, we tend to overlook what it takes for them to survive. Monarch butterflies have suffered severe declines over the past thirteen years, due in part to habitat loss and insecticide use. Monarch enthusiasts planted more milkweed, and with weather conditions favorable this year, the butterflies enjoyed a robust breeding season. Unfortunately that news was dampened by reports that thousands died on Kent Island, MD following a badly timed mosquito spraying. Additionally, when monarchs reached drought-stricken Texas (where eastern monarchs must travel to reach their winter roosts in Mexico), nectar plants were dry, plants monarchs need in order to refuel before heading to Mexico. Monarchs aren’t the only species to face adversity during migration. Birds suffer losses when they fly into windows or when weather conditions force them to fall from the sky. Habitat loss and changes in climate also reduce their numbers. When journal Science published its recent article stating that over the past 50 years, birds in the USA and Canada have declined by 29 percent (almost 3 billion birds), it made headline news. One would expect the decline to include mostly threatened species. The scary part, however, is that many of the losses were found in common species. Ninety percent of the 3 billion birds lost are from 12 families, including sparrows, finches, and swallows—all of which perform essential roles in food webs and ecosystem functioning, including seed dispersal and pest control. Furthermore, open the fall issue of Audubon and you’ll find the future of the avian world to be extremely worrisome. Audubon’s five-year study found that 389 species out of 604 birds studied are vulnerable to extinction. By 2080 more than half of these birds’ present range could become inhospitable without the possibility of gaining new ground. Ninety-nine percent of birds—some already stressed by pollution and pesticides—could face having to cope with intense spring heat (nesting season for most); heavy rainfall, sea-level rise, and urbanization that could take away habitat. If action is taken now, one article offers, we have time to identify the places we need to protect, the places we need to restore, and the species that will require the most help.As we take these actions, we are helping people as well, for the severe flooding and devastating fires have displaced people as well as birds. While highly vulnerable species are likely to lose at least half of their present range and not regain it somewhere else, generalists—birds with flexible diets and habitat needs—will fare pretty well, birds such as American Crows. Crows are habitat generalists. That is, they can live most anywhere from urban areas with little vegetation to dense forests. They are also omnivores and scavengers to the core, eating both plants and meat. They have no apparent dietary restrictions, meaning they’ll eat most anything from seeds, grains, mice, dead animals and road kill, insects, worms, small fish, reptiles, and even other birds, particularly their eggs and nestlings. Crows are among the most intelligent species in the avian world. Interestingly, they sometimes dunk their food in water before eating, a feeding behavior also attributed to another intelligent omnivore— raccoons. Unfortunately, they also destroy farmlands, where they are commonly called pests. Other farmers, however, consider crows valuable for their ability to control harmful insects.

Hill Country SUN   14 November/December 2019

you can help birds

• Sign up at audubon.org/climatewatch. • Join your local Audubon chapter. • Join Project Feederwatch. • Participate in your local Christmas Bird Count. • Keep screens on windows, and plants or obstacles in front of windows. • Plant native flowering plants. These draw insects, some of which will lay eggs that turn to caterpillars. • Plant seed and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. • Buy migratory bird stamps. • Use less plastic. • Keep cats indoors.

Social behavior is another of crows’ strengths. Seldom do you see a single crow. During the early evening hours of fall, crows in our area fly overhead, headed in a northwesterly direction to their communal roost. If you live in an area where both Bald Eagles and crows reside, it’s not uncommon to see a crows chasing after the much larger eagle. During nesting season, they do this to protect their nest from the predatory eagle. At other times, crows discover an eagle with a freshly caught fish. Overcoming their size and strength disadvantage, the crows dive bomb the eagle from various directions (usually attacking from above), confusing the eagle, making it lose focus, its lost prey the crows’ meal. Crows enjoy close family ties, and during nesting season—usually in late winter—non-mating juveniles from the previous year assist their parents in raising the nestlings. After the nestlings have fledged, crow families will join with larger communal groups, often numbering a thousand birds. Another attribute I discovered first hand about the American Crow, is its persistence. When I was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, I received a young crow. It was perched on a gentleman’s arm, obviously a bird that had been imprinted on. In other words, the crow considered the man to be its parent. The crow refused an enclosure, so I placed it on our deck where I gave it water and food. After much flapping, tumbling and squawking, it learned to fly, and its blue eyes turned black. Then the fun began. When I took mealworms to my aviary to feed other birds, he hounded me for the food. Distracted, one day I dropped the container and mealworms scattered. To say I had to fight the crow off to rescue my mealworms is an extreme understatement. It learned to harass our dogs, to pull rubber from windshield wipers, and other neat tricks. It was always entertaining, this avian generalist.


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Christmas BY ERNIE ALTGELT

C

in Comfort

hristmas almost anywhere in the Texas Hill Country can be an exceptionally special time. The twinkling lights, the infectious good cheer, the overriding atmosphere imbued with warmth, excitement and fellowship that pervades entire communities is truly a welcome phenomena that many find annually irresistible. Quite simply, it’s a joyful season of giving and as such, who can blame so many of us for wanting to get caught up in something so wonderful? Ho, ho, ho! Well, as proof of this pervading power of the Christmas spirit, there are no finer examples than Comfort’s very own married couple, Janis and Garry Schwab. For the past 30 years, these exhilarated elves have been driven to (almost single-handedly) stage the small historic town’s always

Garry’s float in the Comfort annual Christmas Night Parade, this year on November 30. Photo courtesy Gerry Schwab.

Janis and Garry Schwab, Photo courtesy Gerry Schwab.

anticipated annual Christmas in Comfort Night Parade or, as the old Germans call it, Der Weinachten Lichter. Coordinating, cajoling and, all too often, personally capitalizing this complicated undertaking has, and continues to require incredible amounts of commitment, capability and especially, caring. But, where the Schwabs’ uber-enjoyed Christmas parade is concerned, it’s become nothing less than a decades-long labor of love. No coal in Janis’ or Garry’s stockings... ever! Yep, since 1989 the Schwabs’ Christmas in Comfort Night Parade, held the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, has become a tradition that currently attracts revelers from across the greater Hill Country and beyond eager to witness an incredible variety of festive, bedecked participants who represent a variety of worthwhile organizations from across the entire state. At its inception, the parade was a modest affair but, thanks to the couple’s devoted and tireless nurturing, has continued to grow in scope and pageantry. As Garry recalls, “Our first event consisted of a handful of simple ‘floats’ and a few marchers with Santa bringing up the rear. The route covered a whopping two blocks. The whole thing lasted a few minutes.” In contrast, last year’s incarnation included 117 gaily-lit entrants featuring the Comfort area marching band, dancers, myriad floats often sporting live music and singers, and other mobile (almost magical) wonderments. The current route encompasses two delightful miles snaking through much of Comfort’s most celebrated areas. A dazzling fireworks display caps the evening. The fun starts at 6 pm, with the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree, then at 7 pm the parade starts rolling, but veteran attendees know to get there early for the best viewing seats. Prior to the parade, the township offers visitors an early shopping opportunity with the inclusion of a number of arts and crafts vendors spread throughout the community. Food, drink and lodging are also available in abundance. All in all, it’s a good day —and especially night— for a trip to Comfort. But, it’s the back-story that’s really remarkable when one realizes that this incredible event’s fruition each November is primarily (and selflessly) the sole work of the Schwabs. Janis is a local girl who grew up in Comfort and still runs a popular area salon. Garry (now retired and originally a native of Schertz) met Janis in 1971 in Comfort while working as a traveling representative for Pepsi-Cola. Love blossomed, marriage followed and the happy couple settled in Janis’ home town. That was 48 blessed years ago. And, as an adopted son of Comfort, Garry always felt compelled to “give something back” to his new community. That something ultimately became the Night Parade, an outgrowth of an earlier Chamber of Commerce shopping event called Christmas in Comfort, which needed a boost. Garry and Janis thought the addition of a parade would further encourage out-of-towners to pay a visit to Comfort while also providing the locals with some Yuletide entertainment. Garnering support for their idea, they got to work. And, although initially there were some naysayers, as time has proven, boy were they right with attendance figures now running into the thousands. What is especially commendable, however, is that, after three decades the Schwabs still do almost everything “themselves.” The city does provide security, insurance and port-a-potties and, there are a few “volunteers,” but the contacting, scheduling, booking, promoting, staging and myriad other “chores” (as well as various affiliated expenses) falls primarily to this well-seasoned couple. It’s demanding (time-, labor- and cost-wise) but, as they both attest, “After so long, not doing it would be just wrong and really, who doesn’t love a parade?” So, show your appreciation and get on over to Comfort this November 30, set up a lawn chair and enjoy the show. You’ll recognize Janis and Garry because they’re riding in the last float appropriately garbed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Now, how right is that? Ho, ho, ho! For more information, visit the website at comfortchamber.com.

Hill Country SUN   16 November/December 2019


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Hill Country Parks

A COLUMN by SUZY MOEHRING MALLARD

Getting’ out there

Part of what I love about writing news stories is that I get to see some of the very best of people. And here’s a case in point: Generation Serve and its little kid volunteers. I first knew Generation Serve ten years ago when it was called Little Helping Hands, and I saw the kids at social services agencies, city-wide clean-ups, and parks across Austin. A couple of Saturdays ago I met four Generation Serve volunteers and their moms who were gardening at Mayfield Park, a Central Austin place that started life generations ago as a getaway cottage way west of Austin – almost to Lake Austin before it was Lake Austin, just the Colorado River. Mayfield Park’s charm is its palm trees, rock walls, rock fish ponds, cottage gardens, strutting peacocks, graceful live oaks, trails to the water, and of course the historic white cottage. These four second graders were at Mayfield Park to work on a little garden adopted by Generation Serve – weeding, watering, mulching, digging, cleaning, toting, learning, enjoying. Seven-year-old Lucy, one of the Generation Serve volunteers, told me she liked to help people and that’s what she was doing by working in the garden. But I’m wondering if Lucy realized how much it was helping her and her friends: outside, fooling around in the dirt, getting up close and personal with nature. There are all kinds of good reasons to get outside and into a park, and helping other people, like Lucy and her friends were, is one of the best reasons.

Whooping cranes are here

The first whooping crane pair of the season was seen near Seadrift on Oct. 9, and more whooping crane sightings were reported at Goose Island State Park on Oct. 17 and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 18. Their 2,500 mile migration from Canada can take up to 50 days and the crane’s central flyway is right through Texas. This year that flight will include 37 new little ones counted in August, up from 24 new whooping cranes in 2018. These birds are rare, and only 504 whooping cranes make up our North American flock. By December, nearly all these birds will be in marshes on the Texas coast near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge chowing down on blue crabs, wolfberries, crawfish, frogs, big insects, and acorns roasted during a prescribed burn to give the whooping cranes access to more foraging habitat. Port Aransas celebrates the birds with a Whooping Crane Festival in late February, and a few weeks later the big birds head back to Northwest Territories and their winter home at Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park.

Maybe later, Balmorrhea

Balmorrhea State Park, my favorite stopping place when I’m going to or coming from Big Bend, closed in early September to make some repairs and upgrades to its cabins, fencing, pool, and infrastructure. But not to worry – you could be back in that iconic spring-fed pool for 2020’s warm weather. If that warm weather comes in the summertime like it’s supposed to. Work on the septic system, fencing around the pool, roof replacements, campground and motor court improvements, and water intake in the pool is scheduled to run through Spring 2020.

Generation Serve’s kid volunteers working in Austin’s Mayfield Park. Photo courtesy Suzy Moehring Mallard.

Parks law enforcement

Applications are being accepted through Nov. 15 for the 64th Texas Game Warden and State Park Police Cadet class. How could I not know that we had State Park Police? You’ll need to be 21 years old before the projected graduation date of the cadet class in May 2021 and have a bachelor’s degree. Cadets live at the Game Warden Training Center near Hamilton for the 30 weeks of the cadet class, which begins September 2020. Interested? Call recruiters at 512-915-4704 or 877-229-2733 or look online at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

Texas Game Wardens in South Africa

And speaking of Game Wardens, some of our Texas Game Wardens spent some time in South Africa’s Kruger National Park recently, part of an annual professional exchange program with South African National Parks Game Rangers. The goal of the exchange program is to increase education and awareness of international wildlife trafficking, a problem in both South Africa and Texas. Over the last decade, Texas Game Wardens have increased the focus on wildlife trafficking operations, including navigating internet forums and online marketplaces for trading in both live animals and animal parts. South Africa battles poaching of elephants, rhinos, and lions, and Kruger National Park is a center for conservation law enforcement. Kruger National Park staff will visit Texas State Parks in January 2020.

Don’t miss Sight & Sounds of San Marcos December 4-7, 11-14 SAN MARCOS H Sight and Sounds of San Marcos December 4-7 and 11-14 from 5 pm to 11 pm features carnival rides for all ages, including a full sized ferris wheel for a bird’s eye view of the thousands of sparkling Christmas lights that decorate the park. Enjoy delicious food — from full plates to funnel cakes, a tasty array of festival food can be found at the stalls that line the park every day of the event. A favorite attraction for young visitors is the festival petting zoo. Kids can also meet Santa at the festival and even take a photo with him. Sights & Sounds works with many community organizations to make the event better every year. Many groups participate, such as local vendors and scout troops. A live nativity hosted by dedicated community members is a highly anticipated attraction each year. For complete details, visit sights-n-sounds.org.


Holiday fun at North

Pole Village

Photos with Santa and so much more holiday fun for the family at CRRC’s North Pole Village December 12-14 and 19-21. CANYON LAKE H CRRC of Canyon Lake’s 23rd annual North Pole

Village is a Christmas event for children of all ages! You can have your photo taken with Santa ($5), decorate cookies at the bakery, get your face painted at the elves’ house, write a letter to Santa at the post office, sing Christmas carols in church, shop the country store, enjoy the petting barn, take home a book from the library and a toy from the toyland. There’s also a hayride and a live nativity. This event is a labor of love with staff and volunteers from the community as a gift to everyone and is an annual community event and fundraiser for CRRC. Proceeds benefit the CRRC Food Pantry.

CRRC Recreation Center is at 125 Mabel Jones Drive. The North Pole Village is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings December 12-14 and December 1-21 from 6 pm to 9 pm. For information, call 830-964-2324 or visit crrcofcanyonlake.org.

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November/December 2019 Hill Country SUN   19


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

SATURDAY-December 7th 2019 -9:00 A.M. till 5:00 P.M. SUNDAY-December 8th 2019 -10:00 A.M. till 4:00 P.M.

www.KCFA.org

Visit Our Face Book Page

2 DAY ADMISSION: Adults-$5.00 Kids 12 & Under- “FREE” Bring 2 can goods or 1 unwrapped toy for $1 off admission

Kendall County Fairgrounds 1307 River Road, Boerne, Texas

Don’t miss the Second Annual

Festivity of Lights in Downtown Leakey, Texas

This community project honors the memory of loved ones and our beloved military with beautiful lighted trees and patriotic wreaths surrounding the courthouse

Lighting at dark on Thanksgiving Enjoy through mid-January! 830-232-6102 Send donations to PO Box 402, Leakey, TX 78873 Hill Country SUN   20 November/December 2019

EVERY DAY GRUENE: Live music at Gruene Hall. gruenehall.com. EVERY SUNDAY BUDA: Farmer’s Market. 10 am to 2 pm. 308 S. Main at Buda Mill and Grain Company. www.budafarmersmarket.com. HELOTES: Family Night and Free Dance at John T. Floore’s Country Store., 14492 Old Bandera Road. 6 pm. liveatfloores.com. JOHNSON CITY: Live music at Pecan Street Brewing. 106 East Pecan Street. 6 PM to 9 PM. pecanstreetbrewing.com. SECOND SUNDAY BANDERA: Second Sunday Music Fest. banderacowboycapital.com. JOHNSON CITY: Taste Wine + Art. Kirchman Gallery. 830-868-9290. FIFTH SUNDAY DRIFTWOOD: United Methodist Church Bluegrass Gospel Sing-along Service. 11 am. 512-944-6300. EVERY MONDAY CYPRESS MILL: Bunkhouse Gang at Wenmohs Ranch. Paint and enjoy fellowship of artists. 830-825-3465. EVERY TUESDAY JOHNSON CITY: Tuesday Supper Club. Chef ’s tasting and wine pairing. Limited seating. Call for reservations. 830-868-2424. SAN MARCOS/WIMBERLEY: Community Bible Study. Men, Women, Couples, Spanish, Youth & Children. 6:30 pm to 8 pm. First Christian Church, 3105 Ranch Road 12. Register at 512-808-9156, paula.king206@yahoo.com. EVERY WEDNESDAY DRIPPING SPRINGS: Farmers Market. 3 pm to 6 pm at Highway 290, Ranch Road 12. cityofdrippingsprings.com. NEW BRAUNFELS: Veteran Music Group at VFW Post 7110. 5 pm to 8 pm. Open to all veterans, all skill levels. Songwriting, guitar, keyboard, more. 600 Peace Avenue. Gary Walter, 512-460-9919. SAN MARCOS: Kent Finlay’s Songwriter’s Circle at Historic Cheatham Street Warehouse. 8 PM. cheathamstreet.com. WIMBERLEY: Farmers’ Market. Senior Citizen’s Activity Center, Ranch Road 12. 512-264-1637. EVERY WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY BLANCO: Live music at Old 300 BBQ. old300bbq.com. EVERY WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY SAN MARCOS: Wimberley Glassworks. Watch art being created in a live glassblowing demo. Gallery open 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm. wgw.com. THIRD WEDNESDAY WIMBERLEY: Heart of Texas Genealogy Society meets at Wimberley Village Library. 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm. wimberleylibrary.org. FOURTH WEDNESDAY WIMBERLEY: Meeting of the Hill Country Neighbors. 10 am. Community Center. 512-847-2849. FIRST THURSDAY DRIPPING SPRINGS: First Thursday. Events, food and music plus special sale items. 5 pm to 9 pm. drippingspringstx.org. FIRST & THIRD THURSDAY CANYON LAKE: Noon Lions meet at Canyon Lake Golf Club. 830-899-4406. SECOND THURSDAY WIMBERLEY: Hill Country Bead Society. Wimberley Community Center. 1 PM. Marilyn Pierce, mp@ smpierce.net. SECOND & FOURTH THURSDAY WIMBERLEY: Toastmaster Club. Learn public speaking, leadership. 7 pm to 8 pm. Community Center. 512-847-6822. THIRD THURSDAY BANDERA: Cowboy Camp. Pickers who play cowboy, Texas, or swing music welcome to sit in. banderacowboycapital.com. DRIPPING SPRINGS: Dripping Springs VFW Post 2933. 7 PM. 512-858-5637. WIMBERLEY: Susanna’s Kitchen Coffeehouse Concerts. Intimate venue makes for great listening. Doors 7 pm, music 7:30 pm. wimberleyumc.org. WIMBERLEY: Third Thursday. Shops stay open in downtown area ’til 8 pm. WimberleyMerchants.com. EVERY THURSDAY - SATURDAY WIMBERLEY: Live Music at Linda’s. facebook. com/LindasFineFoods. EVERY FRIDAY BLANCO: Tasting Room & Tours at Real Ale Brewing Co. realalebrewing.com. LEAKEY: Music at the Back Porch. historicleakeyinn.com. EVERY FRIDAY WIMBERLEY: Bingo. Family friendly fun at the VFW Hall on Jacobs Well Road. 512-847-6441.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

FIRST FRIDAY BANDERA: Knights of Columbus Fish Fry. 5 PM at St. Joseph’s Hall. www. banderacowboycapital.com. FREDERICKSBURG: First Friday Art Walk. ffawf.com. MARBLE FALLS: Art Walk. 5 pm to 8 pm. marblefalls.org. SECOND FRIDAY BANDERA: Medina Community Jam Session. banderacowboycapital.com. UVALDE: Four Square Friday. Shopping, food, music, art. 6 pm to 9 pm. visituvalde.com. EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY BLANCO: Live music at the Redbud Cafe.www.redbud-cafe.com. EVERY SATURDAY BOERNE: Farmers Market at the Cibolo. Herff Farm. visitboerne.org. FISCHER: Jackson Open Artisan and Farmers Market. 9 am to 5 pm. 6341 Farm Market 32. jacksonopenairmarket.com, 830-935-2781. NEW BRAUNFELS: Farmers Market. nbfarmersmarket.com. WIMBERLEY: Tour Jacob’s Well. 9 am. jacobswellspring.org. WIMBERLEY: Arnosky Family Farms Market. Ranch Road 2325 and Highway 165. 830-833-5428 WIMBERLEY: Saturday Evening Dinners. www.blairhouseinn.com. UTOPIA: Lunch and Dinner at Laurel Tree. utopiagourmet.com. FIRST SATURDAY BANDERA: Market Days on Courthouse Square. 830-796-4447. BANDERA: First Saturday Book Sale. Public Library. 830-796-4213. BANDERA: Bandera Cattle Co. Gunfighters. Re-creating shootouts and life of the Old West. Noon, 2 PM. banderacowboycapital.com. BANDERA: Cowboys on Main. Interact with a sample of Old West cowboy lifestyle on Main Street. banderacowboycapital.com BUDA: First Saturday. Explore unique shops downtown, enjoy live music, food and drinks. www.budatxtourism.com. DRIFTWOOD: Community Club. Dinner at 7 pm. driftwoodtx.org. KERRVILLE: Kerr County Market Days and Hill Country Swap Meet. Youth Exhibit Center. Free admission, kerrmarketdays.org. SECOND SATURDAY CASTROVILLE: Market Trail Days. Houston Square. 830-539-2316. WIMBERLEY: Gallery Trail. Galleries around Square open late offering art, wine, appetizers. www.Facebook.com/SecondSaturdayGalleryTrail. FOURTH SATURDAY BANDERA: Frontier Times Jamboree. Live music, storytelling, and more free fun for all ages. Frontier Times Museum. banderacowboycapital.com. EVERY SATURDAY & SUNDAY ROUND MOUNTAIN: Tours at Westcave Preserve. westcave.org. SECOND SATURDAY-SUNDAY AUSTIN: Tours of Bright Leaf Natural Area. brightleaf.org. FOURTH SATURDAY-SUNDAY JOHNSON CITY: Market Days. JohnsonCityTexas-Chamber.com. SECOND SATURDAY BOERNE: Art Beat. Boerne shops and art galleries team up to bring fine art to the people. 210-954-6659, visitboerne.org/calendar. SECOND SATURDAY and SUNDAY BOERNE: Market Days. visitboerne.org/calendar NOVEMBER 9, 23 WIMBERLEY: Glassblowing Classes. Experience the thrill of creating your own glass piece at Wimberley Glassworks. wgw.com. NOVEMBER 15-16 WIMBERLEY: Winter Wonderland. Find Thanksgiving and Christmas trees, wreaths, and centerpieces created by local artists, plus holiday music, refreshments, and Santa. Wimberley Community Center. wimberley.org. NOVEMBER 16 WIMBERLEY: Chapel in the Hills 3rd Annual Holiday Bazaar. Shop for ornaments, wreaths, decorations, table-top trees, handcrafts, jewelry, baked goods, more. 9 am to 3 pm. 14601 Ranch Road 12. wimberleychapelinthehills.com. NOVEMBER 16-17 KERRVILLE: Texas Gun and Knife Show. Kerr County Hill Country Youth Event Center. texasgunandknifeshows.com. FREDERICKSBURG: Pacific Combat Living History Reenactment. See equipment and weapons used during WWII and a battle reenactment set on an island in the Pacific. pacificwarmuseum.org. NOVEMBER 12-16, 19-23, 26-30 KERRVILLE: Texas Furniture Makers Show. The 20th annual juried exhibit features the best furniture makers in Texas at Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. 830895-2911. kacckerrville.com.

An Edu-tainment Weekend

January 24-26, 2020 Enjoy a variety of creative workshops, fun events and community activities offered by area businesses in Wimberley

WimberleyArtAndSoul.com Follow us on Facebook & Instagram

THROUGH JANUARY 1st

Shop, Dine & Dance Every Day Christmas Market Days Cowboy Kringle Photos Town Lighting Jingle Bell Run Live Music Daily at Gruene Hall New Year’s Eve with Charley Crockett Hair of the Dog Day Over 25 Eclectic Shops IN GRUENE HISTORIC DISTRICT

HolidaysInGruene.com November/December 2019 Hill Country SUN   21


CALENDAR OF EVENTS NOVEMBER 16-19 COMFORT: Diva Day and Girls Night Out. Downtown. comfort-texas.com. NOVEMBER 16, 19-23, 26-30 INGRAM: Artmart Christmas Gift Showcase. Hill Country Arts Foundation, 120 Point Theatre Road. hcaf.com. NOVEMBER 21 BOERNE: A Thirst for Nature. Learn about the area’s different plant and wildlife. Cibolo Nature Center, 140 City Park Road.visitboerne.org/calendar. NOVEMBER 22 - JANUARY 1, 2020 MARBLE FALLS: Walkway of Lights. Two million lights on more than 130 sculptures illuminate Lakeside Park. Weekends and holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, children can visit with Santa and his elves. Lakeside Park. marblefalls.org. NOVEMBER 23 KERRVILLE: Holiday Lighted Parade and Courthouse Lighting Ceremony. Annual lighted parade and arrival of Santa on his fire truck. After the parade, enjoy a Christmas program and the lighting of the courthouse with a 45-foot tree. Kerr County Courthouse, 700 Main Street. kerrvilletx.gov. NOVEMBER 23-24 BOERNE: Fall Antiques Show. Kendall County Fairgrounds. 830-329-2870, visitboerne.org/calendar. NOVEMBER 24 - JANUARY 5, 2020 BURNET: Burnet County Courthouse Holiday Lights Spectacular. The courthouse and the surrounding trees are aglow with falling icicles and tens of thousands of lights. A 16-foot Christmas tree and huge gift boxes awaits for holiday photos. 512-756-5420, highlandlakesofburnetcounty.com. NOVEMBER 28 GRUENE: 11th Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk & 1/4 Mile Kids’ Turkey Chase. ComalCopsForKids.org. NOVEMBER 28 – DECEMBER 5 BOERNE: Old West Christmas Light Fest. Featuring a rustic, true Texas “Old West” town filled with holiday lights on beautiful ranchland, visits with Santa,

23rd Anniversary for the CRRC

NORTH POLE

live music, holiday games and activities and Santa’s Holly Jolly Herd, Santa’s very own Longhorns ready to pull his sleigh across Texas. Enchanted Springs Ranch. christmaslightsfest.com. NOVEMBER 28 – DECEMBER 8 SAN MARCOS: Sights and Sounds of Christmas. Includes more than a million lights, live music, rides, 20-plus food vendors and family activities. San Marcos Park Plaza, 206 North C.M. Allen Parkway. sights-n-sounds.org. NOVEMBER 28 - DECEMBER 31 COMFORT: Nativity Figures Display in Comfort Park. Life-size nativity figures grace the park Thanksgiving through December. These historic figures originally sat atop the Sears building in San Antonio. 830-995-3131, comfort-texas.com.

Frio Canyon Chamber of Commerce presents the annual

CHRISTMAS ON THE FRIO

Saturday, November 30

At the Real County Courthouse Square 101 S. Market Street Leakey, TX 78873

Food Vendors • Arts & Crafts Vendors Pictures with Santa • So Much More!

830-232-5222

www.FrioCanyonChamber.com

Visit the EmilyAnn

See a show, attend a festival, or stroll through the gardens and enjoy our interactive grounds.

VILLAGE

Thursday, Friday & Saturday Evenings December 12-14 & 19-21, 2019 • 6-9 pm CHRISTMAS FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Bakery • Post Office Toy Land • Ice Fishing Elves’ House • Hayride Pictures with Santa $5 Live Nativity CRRC Recreation Center 125 Mabel Jones Drive, Canyon Lake, TX (off the South Access Road)

crrcofcanyonlake.org • 830-964-2324 Hill Country SUN   22 November/December 2019

Gar 22nd Annual

Trail of Lights As You Like It

September 6-29 Fri & Sat 7:30pm & Sun 2:00pm

Old West Melodrama Performed at 7A Ranch October 5-20 Sat & Sun 2:00pm

Nov. 30 - Dec. 28 Sun. - Thurs. 6 - 9 pm Fri. - Sat. 6 - 10 pm

Rumpelstiltskin (children’s series) October 5-27 Sat 10:00am & Sun 2:00pm

Steel Magnolias

November 1-24 Fri & Sat 7:30pm & Sun 2:00pm

1101 FM 2325 ~ Wimberley, TX ~ www.EmilyAnn.org


CALENDAR OF EVENTS NOVEMBER 28 – JANUARY 1 LEAKEY: Festivity of Lights. Community project honors memory of loved ones and military with beautiful lighted trees and patriotic wreaths surrounding the courthouse. 830-232-6102. NOVEMBER 29 FREDERICKSBURG: Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and German Pyramid. Capturing the spirit and celebration of Christmas through the area’s rich German heritage, with refreshments, caroling, and countdown to flipping the switch for the annual tree lighting. Marktplatz. visitfredericksburgtx.com. WIMBERLEY: Blow Off Black Friday. Watch Wimberley Glassworks create blown glass ornaments in demonstrations throughout the day and enjoy specials and hot cider. wgw.com. NOVEMBER 29-30 BOERNE: 20th Annual Dickens on Main. Boerne’s Hill Country Mile, 100 North Main Street. 830-248-1617, visitboerne.org/calendar. NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 31 BOERNE: Christmas on the Don Strange Ranch. Celebration of family, friends, and neighbors with displays, interactive carriage and hayrides, food, and shopping. 103 Waring Welfare Road. 830-537-3156; visitboerne.org/calendar. NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 31 BOERNE: Old West Christmas Light Fest. Enjoy holiday flavors and fun at Enchanted Springs Ranch, 242 State Highway 46 West. 210-570-7669. LLANO: Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park. Sip hot chocolate and stroll along the Llano River enjoying all of the displays that light up Badu Park. See Santa at the park every Friday and Saturday through December 21. Badu Park, 300 West Legion Drive. llanostarrystarrynights.com. NOVEMBER 29 - JANUARY 5, 2020 FREDERICKSBURG: Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating. Annual outdoor ice skating event. skateinfred.com. NOVEMBER 30 BOERNE: Concert in the Cave: Sounds of the Season. Tinsel performs in the Queen’s Throne Room for a special holiday celebration. Cave Without A Name, 325 Kreutzberg Road. 830-537-4212, visitboerne.org/calendar.

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NOVEMBER 30 COMFORT: Christmas in Comfort Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 125-plus arts and crafts and food vendors, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and a nighttime lighted parade followed by fireworks. comfort-texas.com. LEAKEY: Christmas on the Frio. Food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and Santa! Real County Courthouse Square. FrioCanyonChamber.com, WIMBERLEY: EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens 22nd Annual Holiday Trail of Lights. Sunday through Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 6 pm to 10 pm. EmilyAnn.org. DECEMBER 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 GRUENE: Photos with Cowboy Kringle. Gruene’s own brand of Santa. Breezeway between Grapevine and Gruene General Store. holidaysingruene.com. DECEMBER 3-4 BOERNE: A Walk Through Bethlehem. Experience camels, Roman soldiers, townspeople, music, and angels much like Mary and Joseph when Jesus was born. St. Helena’s Episcopal Church. 830-249-3228. DECEMBER 3-7, 10-14 INGRAM: Artmart Christmas Gift Showcase. Holiday shopping showcase features artists from across the state. Hill Country Arts Foundation, 120 Point Theatre Road. hcaf.com. KERRVILLE: Texas Furniture Makers Show. 20th annual exhibit features best furniture makers in Texas at Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. kacckerrville.com. DECEMBER 5 NEW BRAUNFELS: Wassailfest. Sample wassail while strolling through the streets and see what merchants have to offer. nbtexas.org/1845/Wassailfest. DECEMBER 6 CASTELL: Gumbo Cookoff at Castell General Store. 325-247-4100. llanochamber.org. FREDERICKSBURG: Light the Night Christmas Parade and Afterglow. Lighted night parade casts a holiday glow over the town’s famous Main Street. lightthenightchristmasparade.com. UVALDE: Christmas at the Crossroads. Ring in the season with a night parade, arts and crafts, and pictures with Santa. Historic Downtown. uvalde.org. DECEMBER 6-7 CASTROVILLE: Old-Fashioned Christmas. Houston Square. Lighting of the town’s Christmas tree, plays, live music, handmade crafts, homemade food, and a kids’ area. castroville.com/events-festivals. LEAKEY: Casino Royale Christmas Gala. Music, contests, door prizes, more. 7 pm at Frio Pecan Farm. Tickets at Leakey Mercantile. 830-232-5222. NEW BRAUNFELS: Christkindlmarkt. Open-air Christmas market, complete with food, drink, craft beer, music, singing, dancing, and vendors selling Christmas ornaments and décor, handcrafted artisan gifts, family-friendly activities, and the Christkind—the traditional Christmas gift-bringer. newbraunfelsconservation.org. DECEMBER 6-7, 13-14 BOERNE: The Christmas Town. Enjoy live seasonal music, hayrides, holiday decorations, free hot cocoa or coffee, food and sweets, and holiday pictures. Vanguard Christian Institute. 830-537-6157. DECEMBER 6-8 BURNET: Main Street Bethlehem. Feel the anticipation of Joseph and Mary approaching gates, pick your way through transients, peddlers, the crippled, and aged in the town’s fringe. Experience presence of animals as they affect all aspects of life in that time; camels, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, and doves. Search for the inn, only to find it full. First Baptist Church, 300 East Washington Street. fbcburnet.org.

DECEMBER 7 FREDERICKSBURG: Pearl Harbor Day Observance. pacificwarmuseum.org. FREDERICKSBURG: A Ranger Christmas. Meet Cowboy Santa and enjoy Ranger Town, caroling, and more! Texas Rangers Heritage Center. thrc.org. GRUENE: Pony Express Ride. Riders from the Heritage Trail Ride Association of New Braunfels at 10 am carry “Christmas Greetings” from the Texas governor. A post office set up next to Gruene Outfitters; bring your Christmas cards to have stamps canceled with 2019 commemorative stamp representing Gruene. holidaysingruene.com. GRUENE: Town Lighting. After a day of festivities, Gruene closes out this event with a brass band street performance at 5 pm, followed by the annual town lighting at 6 pm. Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and hands out candy canes to the kids. holidaysingruene.com. JOHNSON CITY: A Frontier Christmas. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the park, take a free bus to the Johnson Settlement, visit with chuck wagon cooks as they cook and recite cowboy Christmas stories. Visit dogtrot log cabin of grandparents of President Johnson, where pioneer women in living history costumes serve cookies and cider. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. 830-868-7128, nps.gov/lyjo. LAMPASAS: Carol of Lights. All-day Christmas celebration on the square. Don’t go home early because the lighted Christmas parade has lots of fun floats and Santa, Mrs. Claus, and and elves. Courtyard Square. visionlampasas.org. WIMBERLEY: Glassblowing Classes. Experience the thrill of creating your own glass piece at Wimberley Glassworks. wgw.com. DECEMBER 7-8 BOERNE: 36th Annual Oma’s Christmas Fair. Handcrafted handmade merchandise, shopping, Santa, kids’ activities and more at Kendall County Fairgrounds. www.KCFA.org. DRIPPING SPRINGS: Redbud Artisan Market. Dripping Springs Ranch Park. 512-858-7892. GRUENE: Christmas Market Days. Nearly 100 vendors offer Christmas gifts, uniquely crafted items, and packaged Texas foods. 10 am to 5 pm. gruenemarketdays.com. WIMBERLEY: The Mystery of Christmas. Concert featuring soloists, choir and orchestra at First Baptist Church. Saturday 7 pm, Sunday 9:30 am and 11 am. fbcwimberley.com. DECEMBER 8 GRUENE: Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist, Christmas Edition. Enjoy awe-inspiring gospel music, Christmas tunes, and buffet catered by Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar. 10:30 am. Advanced tickets recommended. Gruene Hall. holidaysingruene.com. DECEMBER 9 LEAKEY: 9th Annual Making Spirits Bright Retail Shopping event. Food, treats, community candlelight service. 7:30 pm on the Leakey Courthouse Square. DECEMBER 10-23 AUSTIN: 55th Annual Trail of Lights. 60 displays, two million lights, a Ferris wheel, and live music ongoing for two weeks. austintrailoflights.org. DECEMBER 12-14, 19-21 CANYON LAKE: 23rd Annual CRRC North Pole Village. Christmas fun for the family, includes a bakery, post office, toy land, ice fishing, hayride. photos with Santa, live nativity and more. 6 pm to 9 pm. crrcofcanyonlake.org.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

DECEMBER 13-14 UVALDE: 12th Annual Briscoe Ranch IBCA Barbecue Cookoff. Teams compete for cash and prizes at Uvalde County Fairplex. uvaldebbq.com. DECEMBER 13-24 AUSTIN: 44th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Shop for gifts and art while listening to local bands live in concert at this iconic annual holiday market. Palmer Events Center. armadillobazaar.com. FREDERICKSBURG: The Christmas Journey. free drive-through presentation of the story of Christmas depicted in nine scenes, all with live animals and actors, magnificent backgrounds, lighting and effects, and music filling the air. Bethany Lutheran Church, 110 W. Austin Street. bethanyfredericksburg.com. DECEMBER 14 BULVERDE: Holiday Tour of Homes. See 10 gorgeous homes in the Bulverde/ Spring Branch area. bsbtourofhomes.com. BURNET: Christmas at Fort Croghan. Experience and celebrate the Christmas season at Fort Croghan as it was in the days of the pioneers. The cabins are open to the public, and the grounds are softly lit with luminaries and lanterns. Re-enactors in period costumes, and carolers and family musicians take you back to “good old days” when life was simple. Homemade soups are served along with bread, hot spiced cider, coffee or bottled water, homemade cookies, and popcorn. Free admission and parking. Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum, 703 Buchanan Drive. 512-756-8281. BURNET: Christmas on the Square. A truck dumps 40,000 pounds of snow for children of all ages to play in. There are plenty of artisan vendors and food booths. Don’t miss the bicycle giveaway and the parade with Santa. Downtown. 512-756-4297, burnetchamber.org. GRUENE: 27th Annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk. Benefits St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. athleteguild.com. WIMBERLEY: Winter’s Eve. Enjoy live music, fire pits, food, drink, a visit with Santa, and lots of holiday festivities set around the shops, art galleries, and eateries of the Wimberley Square. wimberleymerchants.com. WIMBERLEY: Blue Christmas. Vendors, food trucks, live music, carriage rides and photos with Santa, plus an ugly-sweater contest, more. Blue Hole Regional Park. facebook.com/blueholeregionalpark.

DECEMBER 19 GRUENE: Come and Taste It. Sample wines and craft brews. The Grapevine in Gruene. grapevineingruene.com. DECEMBER 21 LUCKENBACH: Christmas Ball. Annual holiday dance in historic Luckenbach Texas Dance Hall with a music by Kevin Fowler. luckenbachtexas.com. DECEMBER 20-22 FREDERICKSBURG: Trade Days. More than 400 vendors in seven barns. Across from Wildseed Farms. fbgtradedays.com. DECEMBER 28-29 WIMBERLEY: Slightly iRRegular Sale at Wimberley Glassworks. Up to 75% off our blown glass seconds. Come early or check online aat wgw.com. DECEMBER 31 FREDERICKSBURG: USO-Style New Year’s Eve Hangar Dance. 1940’s-style dance with swing dance lessons, big band music, costume contest, photo booth, and concessions. Pacific Showroom at Hangar Hotel. hangarhotel.com.

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS DECEMBER 31 GRUENE: New Year’s Eve with Charley Crockett. gruenehall.com. LUCKENBACH: New Year’s Eve Celebration. Usher in the New Year with one heck of a party in the historic Luckenbach Texas Dance Hall. 830-997-3224, luckenbachtexas.com. WIMBERLEY: Second Annual Hometown New Year’s Eve. Ring in 2020 with great big Band music at ticketed New Year’s Eve Celebration Dance. wimberleyvalleybigband.org. JANUARY 1 HUNT: Polar Bear Challenge. On New Year’s Day, Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly hosts a Polar Bear Challenge with participants braving the icy waters of the Guadalupe River and sliding down a 35-foot-high, 116-foot-long water slide at Mo-Ranch to raise funds for a good cause. 800-460-4401, moranch.org. WIMBERLEY: Polar Bear Plunge. Fun Run with plunge into the famous Blue Hole at the finish. Registration is free. Blue Hole Regional Park. facebook.com/ blueholeregionalpark JANUARY 18 LUCKENBACH: 13th Annual Blues Festival. All-day celebration featuring local, regional, and Texas blues artists. luckenbachtexas.com. JANUARY 18-19 FREDERICKSBURG: 51st Annual Hill Country Gem and Mineral Show. Includes artifacts, exhibits, demonstrations, jewelry, minerals, and fossils.Pioneer Pavilion at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. fredericksburgrockhounds.org. JANUARY 24-26 WIMBERLEY: Wimberley Art and Soul. An edu-tainment weekend in Wimberley with a wide variety of creative workshops, awesome events, and activities offered by area businesses and organizations. wimberleyartandsoul.com. JANUARY 24-26, FEBRUARY 1-2, 2020 KERRVILLE: Renaissance Festival. Open rain, shine, or cold. Travel back in time to the Middle Ages and experience a fun-filled, family-friendly day of adventure, music, and romance. Play games of skill, eat a turkey leg, shop in marketplace featuring more that 40 artisans, enjoy headlining entertainers and music on seven stages. River Star Arts and Event Park. kerrvillerenfest.com.

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November/December 2019

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