Tuesday, November 20, 2012
15 best holiday events for Thanksgiving weekend
Trot off some calories or just kick off Christmas.
Turkey Trots: On Thanksgiving morning, you can raise money for charity while burning enough calories for that second slice of pie. The races in Dallas and Fort Worth benefit YMCA locations. The Arlington event helps out The Shoe Bank, and the North Texas Turkey Trot aids Miracle League of Frisco.
Chesapeake Energy Parade of Lights: “The Wonder of It All” is the theme for this procession featuring more than 100 floats in downtown Fort Worth. You can also expect pre-parade holiday crafts for kids, food and beverages available for purchase, the new Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa Night of Lights Fitness Walk (includes reserved seating; check the website for participation info and prices), and entertainment, as well as Cowboy Santas collecting new toys for needy children. Nov. 23, with pre-parade activities in Sundance Square starting at 2 p.m., the fitness walk at 5:40 p.m., and the parade kickoff at 6 p.m. at Belknap and Throckmorton streets, Fort Worth. Free.
Dickens of a Christmas - Home for the Holidays: Charming downtown McKinney gets festive with strolling carolers and other entertainment, visits with Santa, children’s activities, a snow tubing hill, carriage rides and more for its 32nd annual fest. There’ll be a tree-lighting Nov. 23 at 6:15 p.m. The festival is Nov. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 25 from noon to 6 p.m. in downtown McKinney. Free admission.
Holiday at the Arboretum: "Artistry of the Nativity," featuring hundreds of Nativity scenes from around the world, is on display at the Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer Estate. On Nov. 23 and each Saturday and Sunday in December, there’ll be special activities from noon to 4 p.m., including photo ops with Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, and live reindeer. Holiday teas (reservations are required) and the 15 Dale Chihuly glass installations throughout the gardens are among the other attractions. Nov. 23 through Dec. 31. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Regular admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for ages 3-12 (Chihuly Nights viewings cost extra and have different hours). Daytime parking is $10.
Prairie Lights: More than 4 million lights twinkle in this drive-through holiday attraction. You can also hop out at the Holiday Village and see a walk-through area, visit with Santa and check out a light show. Nov. 22 through Dec. 31 at Lynn Creek Park. Open Most Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays 6 to 9 p.m. (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve from 6 to 10 p.m.). $20 to $30 per car, light show and walk-through cost extra. Get a sneak peak of Prairie Lights here.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular: The Rockettes will do their best to dance, high-kick and sing their way into North Texas hearts, with a little help from Santa and other characters. Nov. 23 through Dec. 8 at Verizon Theatre. $19.95 to $125.
Galleria Dallas: The Galleria Dallas tree, billed as the nation’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, features about 450,000 lights and more than 10,000 ornaments. On Nov. 23-24, ice-skating shows will feature U.S. Olympic champion Brian Boitano, national champions and local children as part of the Macy’s Grand Tree Lighting. Those shows and the others listed below will feature Missile Toes, an ice-skating, back-flipping Santa Claus, who’ll wow the audience with the fireworks that come out of his skates. Daily Illumination Celebrations will feature lights blinking along to holiday music. Shows with Boitano, Missile Toes and others Nov. 23 at noon, Nov. 24 at 5 p.m. Additional Missile Toes shows Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 5 p.m. Illumination Celebrations Nov. 23-Dec. 24, daily at noon, 2 4, 6 and 8 p.m. (no 8 p.m. shows on Sundays). Free.
Vitruvian Lights: A lighting ceremony on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. will include photos with Santa, carolers in Victorian costumes, holiday food and drinks. The outdoor light display, featuring LED lights on more than 200 trees around Vitruvian Park’s 12 acres, will run through Jan. 1. Free.
The North Pole Express: At Grapevine’s annual North Pole Express, pajama-clad kids journey through a Christmas-tree maze and make ornaments on their way to a magical train ride. On board, they sing Christmas carols, warm up with hot cocoa and get to meet St. Nick. The event area opens one hour before the first train departs and closes one hour after the last train returns to the Grapevine Depot. Allow plenty of time to get to the site. Grapevine’s many Christmas events can make for slow going, and road construction and highway closures may add to traffic delays. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, with two ticket-holders per seat. Strollers, infant car seats and carriers are not allowed on the train (stroller parking is available at the depot). Infants without tickets must be held in an adult’s lap, and late arrivals will be seated as space is available. Be sure to bring your confirmation letter and photo ID to the Will Call booth inside the event grounds to get your tickets. Trains run Nov. 23 through Dec. 23, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. $18, free for kids younger than 2. Free parking at Dallas Road and Main Street, and parking plus shuttle to the site at the Grapevine Convention Center and Grapevine Public Library.
Holiday in the Park: Six Flags Over Texas goes into twinkle mode with holiday shows, sledding on the Frosty Snow Hill (weather permitting), a model train display, decorated trees, lights, chances to see Santa in his workshop and other seasonal fun and food. That’s in addition to rides, such as Superman: Tower of Power, the New Texas Giant and Titan. Nov. 23 through Jan. 6. $59.99 adults and $42.99 for children at the gate, with discounted tickets available online. Parking is $18.
Christmas in the Square: More than 175,000 lights blink in a free light show set to holiday music in this Frisco celebration. Other attractions include carriage rides and special activities on select dates. Nov. 23 and 24, there’ll be a train display provided by Spring Creek Model Railroad Club and carriage rides from 6 to 10 p.m. (additional carriage rides during the same hours Nov. 25 and 29). The light show runs nightly Nov. 23 through Jan. 6 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Frisco Square. The light show is free; $6 for carriage rides.
Christmas on Main in Grapevine: Step back in time to see downtown Grapevine decked out for the holidays with Victorian-style ribbons, bows, wreaths and twinkling lights. Take the kids to see Santa on stilts, play reindeer games and take a tractor-drawn wagon ride. Visitors can also do their holiday shopping at downtown retailers, dine at local restaurants and sample wine at any of seven Grapevine wine-tasting rooms. Nov. 23 through Dec. 23 on Fridays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturdays noon to 5 p.m., Sundays 2 to 5 p.m. at in historic downtown Grapevine, Grapevine. Free.
Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway: This family-friendly holiday spectacle features more than 600 displays with some 2 million LED lights every night of the week throughout the holiday season. A portion of the proceeds benefit Goodwill Industries, Tarrant Area Food Bank and KLTY Christmas Wish. Nov. 21 through Jan. 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays and holidays 5:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays $15 per car; Fridays through Sundays and holidays $20 per car. Advance tickets can be purchased online or at Walgreens.
The Trains at NorthPark: It’s the 25th anniversary of this elaborate train exhibit featuring scenes from across the country. New features this year include the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas and hot-air balloons in Albuquerque, N.M. About 1,600 feet of track takes toy trains on a journey through scenes including Fair Park, the White House, Times Square, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge and many others. Proceeds from the display benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which provides a home away from home for families with hospitalized children. Continues through Jan. 6 at NorthPark Center. $6 for adults, $3 for ages 2-12 and 65 and older, free for those younger than 2.
Lone Star Christmas and "Ice" Exhibit: Lone Star Christmas at the Gaylord Texan resort includes decorations such as a life-size gingerbread house and 1.5 million pounds of snow, plus daily snow tubing and the “Ice” exhibit. For “Ice,” 40 artists from China have carved 2 million pounds of special frozen water into sculptures showing winter scenes and the characters from the DreamWorks film Merry Madagascar. To tour the exhibit, which is cooled to 9 degrees, put on a provided parka — not a typical garment for Madagascar. Continues through January 1. Exhibit hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is $21.95-$26.95 for adults, $19.95-$23.95 for seniors ages 55 and older, $11.95-$14.95 for kids 4-12 and free for kids 3 and younger. Snow tubing costs extra. Viewing decorations is free. Regular parking costs $12-$17. See photos of the "Ice" Exhibit.
Compiled by Ann Pinson, Ellen Ritscher Sackett, and Shannon Sutlief
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