San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 4th, 2009
The Weekend: 7 choirs singin', 6 groups a-dancin' …


Radney Foster spins his musical tales Saturday at the Cheatham Street Warehouse.

Scene Editor

You know, it’s a crying shame there’s nuthin’ to do around here. Why, shoot, there’s only five, count ’em, five Christmas festivals to see. There’s never any music save for about four dozen choirs and seven dozen bands playing.

Then there’s the problem of nourishment. Where is a body supposed to go to get a funnel cake or a sausage on a stick or a dutch oven biscuit or some authentic English sweets?

None of this would be so bad if there were just a couple of Christmas lights to gaze at. We mean outside of the 700,000 at the Sights and Sounds of Christmas, and the ones at the Trail of Lights. Oh, and there are quite a few in Dripping Springs and Buda and Lockhart. But otherwise nuthin.

You ever get the feelin’ that we’re just a little spoiled living in Texas?  Here are a just a few reasons why.

Friday, December 4

Tonight kicks off “A Dickens Christmas in Lockhart” with a lighted parade that travels around the city’s courthouse square.  The Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library host this festival located at 217 S. Main and Prairie Lea Streets in Lockhart. The event features authentic Victorian decorations, food, craft booths and folks dressed up in Dickensian costume. It’s one of the most charming festivals in the area.

The Wimberley VFW (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road) maintains its Bingo games through the snow, the rain and the pre-Christmas clatter. If you’d rather yell Bingo! than yell for your kids at at Christmas festival, then this is the place to be tonight at 7 p.m. The kindly gals of the Ladies Auxiliary sell the tasty snacks to keep you bing-goin’.

Of course, the Sights and Sounds of Christmas at San Marcos Plaza Park opens tonight at 6 p.m. Admission, which seems to cause some consternation from nostalgic residents, is $2 for those 11 and older and $1 for those from ages 2-10.

We know it’s different to charge admission but also remember the economic times we’re in and what a great deal of work and enthusiasm goes into the event. The lights are gorgeous this year and it is festivals like these that always make us feel that Texas really knows how to celebrate. Remember that you can Ride the free shuttle (5 p.m.–11 p.m.)  from Bobcat Stadium parking lot on Aquarena Springs Drive.

Tonight, the main stage will present the choirs of Mendez, Bowie, Crockett, DeZavala and Travis Elementary Schools, as well as Crockett’s Ballet Folklorico. The First Presbyterian Choir will also be there, followed by D’Ette and Co., The Magical Mysteries of Christian and Manny B. Hip Hop. The Contemporary Cloggers take the stage at 9:30 and the night rounds off with the infectious rhythms of Salsa Del Rio. Not bad for two bucks, really.

If you would prefer a little Christmas time theater tonight, the Wimberley Players are presenting “Inspecting Carol” at 8 p.m. It’s an amusing play about an eccentric group of actors trying to stage “A Christmas Carol.” Or maybe it’s an eccentric play about an amusing group of actors. Either way, it all happens at the Wimberley Playhouse on Old Kyle Road. Tickets are $18 and worth every penny.

By the way, if you are in Wimberley, don’t forget to stop by the EmilyAnn Theatre and walk through the Trail of Lights (1101 FM 2325). It’s open from 6-9 p.m. tonight and features more than 100 lighted exhibits created by churches, families, businesses and civic groups. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.

Island Texas plays what it calls “Texas Country Surfin’ Caribbean Reggae Rock and Roll Island Music.” What do you call a band that includes Scottish bagpipes and Caribbean steel drums? Well, maybe musical succotash. Or maybe just plain fun. You can hear the lively musical interpretations tonight at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street.)

Wake the Dead (1432 RR 12) features Puente at 8 p.m. The popular Spank will be at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary), along with Moving Matter. The lead vocals of Evan Styles kick local band, Earle Brown, into the stratosphere. The rest of the band jams along quite nicely as well. You can see them tonight at the Gray Horse Saloon ( 1904 RR 12).

Saturday, December 5

A Dickens Christmas in Lockhart starts up at 10 a.m. today with all manner of choirs, jugglers, bagpipers, carriage rides, authentic Victorian Christmas decor and costumes. And lights — where would a Christmas event be in Texas without lights, we ask you. There are authentic English Sweets at Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe, which will be delicious and, if you are not careful, will lead to Ye Olde Dentist. Father Christmas will show up to hear children’s requests. Good ye olde tymes will be had by all.

Dripping Springs will have a winter wonderland of lights and activities today at Christmas On Mercer Street. The street will be blocked and closed to traffic and filled with a variety of craft booths, kid’s activities, delicious foods and free music. The talent line-up of the day includes The Kyle Sisters, Carport Casanovas, Jim Halfpenny, and Head to Toe Dance Group. Of course, Santa will be there in his Clydesdale drawn carriage. Stick around long enough to hear the Christmas Carolers at the tree lighting at 6:15 p.m.

It’s the start of Budafest today. This is Buda’s 30th annual Christmas fest with a carnival, crafts, antiques and a parade to start the whole thing off at 10 a.m. The remarkably busy Santa will be there, as well. All the food booths at Budafest are run by local charities, so you’ll be doing a good deed as you snarf down delicious goodies. The Boy Scouts will collect toys for Brown Santa, as well. There will be music hosted by local musical luminary Danny Levin. This festival is always tons of fun.

Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) is having a day-long benefit for the Kids Foundation. There will be a gang of great bands there, including Andrea Marie and the Magnolia Band, Forest Waye Allen, Robbie Doyen, Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings, The Moonhowlers, The Kings of Hard Luck, Joel Hoffman and many many more. There will be barbecue plates, too. Please bring toys and/or a donation for the kids in shelters. Check out for more info.

The Wimberley Merchants Association is having a Winter’s Eve Festival on the square in Wimberley. There will be carolers, bands, holiday lights and, oh yes- food! We don’t go nowhere in Texas if we ain’t gettin’ fed, tell you what! Shops are open late for the occasion. The Bent Tree Gallery on the square is hosting a  reception for small artworks that make perfect gifts. It all starts at 5 p.m.

The Sights and Sounds of Christmas faces its closing night with plenty of dutch oven biscuits, cotton candy, and entertainment. Starting tonight at 5:30 p.m. will be the Texas Preparatory School choir. J & R Gymnastics, Go2Danz Studio and the Gary Job Corps Ballet Folklorico will cut a few rugs. If you don’t know what cuttin’ a rug is, ask your grandma.

The Sahawe Indian Dancers will amaze you at Sights and Sounds at 8:25 p.m. There’s also Isa Mendez and Sammy Salinas on guitar tonight and Mariachi Infantil, Mariachi Lince De Oro and Mariachi Nueva Generacion to wrap up the event with a bit of spice.

The Wimberley Community Chorus will present “Christmas In Harmony” at the Chapel in the Hills (14601 RR 12) at 7 p.m. Admission is free and the music may be just what you need to remind you of the season after eating all those funnel cakes and sausages on sticks.

Michael Martin Murphey is presenting A Cowboy Christmas Ball accompanied by the Texas State Symphony Orchestra at the LBJ Student Center Ballroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and the proceeds go to music education. This much-loved event rekindles the past cowboy style.

The Wimberley Players will be “Inspecting Carol” tonight at the Wimberley Playhouse. This light-hearted look at community theater is a rib-tickling seasonal treat. It starts at 8 p.m.

The wild, sweet tones of Radney Foster grace the Cheatham Street tonight. Foster has deeply devoted fans and, once you hear him, you’ll know why. He may have the most ear-pleasing voice in country music. He starts the magic at 8 p.m.

Wake the Dead will have the triple talents of Bel Stuart, Jenny Wood and Amy Howard tonight. Triple Crown has a huge throw down of hippity hoppin’ rappin’ tonight with its “Spread the Word” show. The line-up includes Perseph One, Emcee Eats, Oamari Kamau, Rocbox and Jaysin. Whew! Whole lotta talent for one room.

Matt Begeley and Bitter Whiskey play their bittersweet tunes tonight at the Gray Horse tonight at 10 p.m. It may be the perfect spot to wind down.

Sunday, December 6

Finally, you may have the strength and time to pay attention to the delightful Budafest. The food is great, the carnival is fun and there are charming gee-gaws to buy for Christmas giving. The merriment begins at 10 a.m.

Maybe you are too exhausted for anything but a relaxing cup of spiced chai and some groovin’ music. Wake the Dead has got you covered with Day Jazz at noon and the Sarinda String Quartet at 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., the Latinitas Photography Fiesta starts and then, stick around a bit longer for a chair massage from the nimble fingers of Bob Steine from 4-7 p.m. It’s another you-could-stay-all-day Sunday at Wake the Dead.

The San Marcos High School Performing Arts Center plays host to “Central Texas Christmas.” The concert features the San Marcos High School Choir, the Bell Choir of First Protestant Church of New Braunfels, the Choral Department from the School of Music at Texas State, the Round Rock Symphony and a special appearance by the Hill Country Youth Chorus. It starts at 2 p.m. Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for students. The  music should be spirit lifting and full of Christmas verve.

The Wimberley Players are reprising “Inspecting Carol” at a matinee today at 2:30 p.m. There’s nothing as memorable as live theater at Christmas time. Almost everyone has a memory of it. Make your new memories today at 2:30 p.m.

The Wimberley Community Chorus is giving its afternoon performance of “Christmas in Harmony” at Chapel in the Hills today at 3 p.m.

The Starlight Symphony Orchestra will give a free concert today at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (6000 A FM 3237) at 4 p.m. The Starlight Symphony Orchestra is a regional, community orchestra for Wimberley, Driftwood, Dripping Springs, Oak Hill, Buda, Kyle, Lockhart, San Marcos, Canyon Lake, Blanco, Johnson City, and surrounding Central Texas communities. While the concert is free, donations are welcomed.

Maybe you’d rather have a bit of bluegrass in your pre-Christmas festivities. Cheatham Street hosts First Sunday Bluegrass with the Two High String Band today from 4-7 p.m. It’s a mighty nice Sunday afternoon’s entertainment.

Might be a nice night to wander over to the Trail of Lights at the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens. It’s a charming site and there are campfires, hot dogs and hot chocolate, as well as entertainments suitable for the whole family.

The mics are open tonight at Triple Crown and Riley’s Tavern if you feel like singing. If you feel like Karaoke there’s always the Gray Horse.

If you went to any of these festivals or events this weekend, though, we’re guessing you’ll want your robe, your slippers, a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. We don’t suppose there’s any such thing as too much fun but if there is, then it’s in Texas, we’re just sayin’.

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