Christmas Festival to transform downtown

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By RACHEL MADISON
For the first time in its history, the Liberty Hill Christmas Festival will be turning the epicenter of downtown into a winter wonderland for the community on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event, hosted by the City of Liberty Hill, offers attendees a variety of activities along Loop 332 from RM 1869 to CR 279. The City is expecting thousands of people to join in the fun.

“I hired a company to do analytics on our past two festivals to get accurate numbers, and for Whimsy and Wonder this year we had 3,000 attendees, and for Fourth of July we had 7,000. I’m thinking this festival will bring in closer to Fourth of July numbers—I think we’ll see several thousand people there,” said Katie Amsler, Communications Manager for the City.

About 75 vendors will be lined up and down Main Street, Myrtle Street and Grange Street for holiday shopping.

“We also have a couple of nonprofit organizations setting up gift wrapping stations, so you can drop off your gifts while you are there, get them wrapped, and then come pick them up,” Amsler said.

The Kids Zone, which will be on the grassy field behind the old VFW building at 102 W. Myrtle Street, will include free activities for kids including a video game truck, bungee trampolines, bounce houses and pony rides.

At the Water Tower Parking Lot, attendees will find the Snow Zone, which will include a real snow field, an ice-skating rink and horse-drawn carriage rides. Behind the Visitors Center/Stubblefield building, Amsler said attendees will be able to find everything they need to strike a pose for their social media and family photos.

“A balloon artist is coming in and doing all these cool installations, like a gingerbread house,” she said. “Also the characters from Frozen and the Grinch will be there taking pictures with people. Inside the building, from noon to 2 p.m., people can also visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and take pictures.”

Food will be served at downtown restaurants like Hell Or Highwater, Malted Grains and Parker’s grill. There will also be multiple food trucks, including the Food Dood, as well as trucks offering treats of all kinds, from hot cocoa to kettle corn.

Throughout the festival, live music can be found at Veterans Memorial Park. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the music classes from each grade at Liberty Hill Elementary School will be performing holiday songs. From 1 to 2 p.m., sibling duo Luke and Lauryn Rios will be performing. From 2 p.m. until the end of the festival, Minor Mishap Marching Band, a 25-piece brass band, will play music and march down Main Street, encouraging festivalgoers to march with them as they exit the event.

The festival will also have an information tent in front of Indigo Salon run by the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce, where attendees can get maps and ask questions. The City Hall parking lot will be the hub for medical emergencies, lost children and the like. Parking for the festival will be open at Fellowship Church, Cross Tracks Church and Liberty Hill Elementary School. Pedicabs will be on site to transport attendees from those lots.

While the festival will take place during the day, a favorite of past Christmas celebrations in Liberty Hill has been the lighted Christmas parade, which begins at 6 p.m. This year’s parade has about 55 floats.

“I really want people to utilize the new shared use path for the parade,” Amsler added. “It’s going to be a great place for people to stand or set up chairs.”

Beginning at 11 p.m. on Dec. 10, there will be no parking allowed on Main Street to provide space for the festival. Loop 332 and all its side streets, will be closed between RM 1869 and One Chapel from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 11.

During the festival, the City Council will also be on site to allow area residents a chance to talk about transportation concerns. A giant map will highlight the roads, who maintains them, and will allow residents to pinpoint specific areas of concern. A digital survey will be available for residents to take as well.

The event and all its activities are free. For more information, visit www.experiencelhtx.com.

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