Many Local Events Planned For Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again, the end of the fall semester when classes are wrapping up and finals are right around the corner. But don’t let that get you down because there are plenty of holiday themed events going on around campus and in the wider Georgetown/Austin area to give you a little holiday cheer.

On going from now until Dec. 19, the Georgetown Palace Theater on the Square is putting on the play “Annie” for the public. This classic play tells the tale of little orphan Annie who, along with her mutt of a dog, Sandy, finds a home in time for Christmas with Daddy Warbucks. Always a classic, shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. You can call the theater at 512-869-7469 for matinee information and ticketing.

The annual Candle Light Service in the Lois Perkins Chapel here on campus will be held on Thursday, Dec. 3. There will be two services at 6 and 8 p.m., both free and open to the public. They are a Southwestern and Georgetown tradition to kick off the Christian season of Advent, a four week period that marks the beginning of the church year and is a season of preparation for Christmas.

The services are adapted from “An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols” in The United Methodist Church Book of Worship, which is based on a program that was developed for the chapel of King’s College in Cambridge in 1934. The University Chorale has prepared a special musical program to go along with the lessons and carols presented during the service.

After the 8 p.m. service there will be a holiday themed reception held for the public in the Bishops Lounge of the McCombs Campus Center.

The next night, Friday, Dec. 4, the Yule Ceremony and Supper will be held here on campus, as well as Georgetown’s First Friday: T’was the Night Before Stroll…on the Square. The Yule Ceremony and Supper will be to celebrate the heathen or pagan winter holiday of Yule, now usually equated with the Christmas.

Normally held at the end of the month, student Michael Espinoza has decided to celebrate a little early this year while everyone is still on campus. The celebration will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at the picnic tables in between the McCombs apartment buildings. Guests are invited to bring friends and food and be ready to raise the horn to the heathen gods.

If pagan celebrations are not for you, head to the Square for a prelude to Saturday’s Christmas Stroll. You can get into the holiday spirit by browsing through Georgetown’s boutiques and galleries while enjoying the holiday music in the air. You can make an evening visit to Bethlehem Village and do some early holiday shopping in the various shops on the Square.

Then on Saturday, Dec. 5, if you weren’t able to make it to the First Friday event, the 29th Annual Christmas Stroll on the Square will kick off at noon with a Family Stroll and Parade. There will be plenty of free activities for children in the WhooVille children’s area and a Winter Wonderland complete with rides and activities, and even a chance to meet and take a picture with Santa.

Also available are historic horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit to Bethlehem Village of Jesus’ time. The village is complete with a toy shop, grain mill, dye factory, perfumery, bakery, coin shop and stable.

The day will also feature several musical acts, including performances from Tuba Christmas, local church carolers, children shows, bells and more. The Tuba Christmas performance is a tradition that was started in New York’s Rockafeller Center in the 1970s and continues in cities around the nation today. Saturday’s 2 p.m. performance will be conducted by Southwestern’s very own Eileen Meyer Russell.

Holiday treats will be available at the food court, and a wide variety of arts and crafts will be available from the approximate 135 vendors that will be set up. The event lasts all day until 8 p.m. and is sure to be a blast of holiday fun.

Interested in celebrating Georgetown history? The Heritage Society will be conducting its annual Holiday Home tour of historic Georgetown homes on Dec. 12 and 13. Tour-goers will be able to enjoy restored and holiday decorated homes that show off the past and present of the old Georgetown neighborhoods. The tour will offer information about each house and its history as well as interesting tidbits. Tickets are $10 beforehand and $15 dollars the day of the event.

For those of you who will be in the Austin area this winter break, the Trail of Lights tradition continues in Zilker Park. Scaled back this year due to budget cuts, the festival will still include the Zilker Park Tree Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m., and will be lit nightly until the 21. Each evening there will be festivities and events, including the Holiday Fun Run on Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and a concert featuring Asleep at the Wheel on the night of Dec. 21.

The festival will still include Santa’s House and Post Office, as well as half a mile lighted area, concessions and music for the whole family to enjoy. No entry fee is being charged this year, and the parking fee has been reduced to $10 dollars.

With all the holiday events happening over the next few weeks, hopefully everyone, regardless of religious leanings, can find something to make you forget about finals and find a little holiday cheer. Happy Holidays!

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