Parades, lights, jazz brunches at the San Luis, a lightedhooves parade, Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football and a venison chili cook-off arejust some of the great activities available for Texans across the Lone StarState for Thanksgiving Day and the extended holiday weekend. Before and afterthe traditional family meal, a host of events are available fromHouston to El Paso and points in between.
Thanksgiving morning’s celebrations kick-off with the HEB Holiday Parade in downtown Houston.The 65th annual parade is the largest and longest running ThanksgivingDay Parade in Texas. The parade has become as much a part of Thanksgiving inSoutheast Texas turkey and Christmas lights. The 2014 edition of this paradewill be even bigger that previous years and gets underway at 9 a.m.Thanksgiving morning. It meanders through downtown Houston beginning atMinutemaid Park and ending back by the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Across the state and in another time-zone, the FirstLightFederal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade hits the streets of El Paso.Originally, the parade was a prelude to the New Year’s Day Sun Bowl but in 1978it moved to Thanksgiving Day and has remained an El Paso tradition ever since.The Thanksgiving Day tradition draws over 250,000 people to the Sun City of ElPaso. The parade runs down Montana Ave between Ochoa and Copia streets.
In the ongoing effort to Keep Austin Weird, the capital citywill have the Chuy’s Christmas Parade during the Thanksgiving Weekend. Accordingto the organizers, “Why wait until December for a Christmas Parade when youcan attend Chuy’s Christmas Parade in Austin during November? This uniqueChristmas parade raises money for “Operation Blue,” which providestoys to needy children in the Austin area.” This parade marches forward on the Saturdayafter Thanksgiving. It features giant inflatable balloons, holiday floats,classic cars, marching bands and Santa. However, in addition to being greatentertainment for those in attendance, Chuy’s Christmas Parade also serves as atoy drive for needy children.
This Austin parade starts at the Texas Capitol and proceedssouth along Congress down to Cesar Chavez Blvd. Toys collects during the paradewil be donated to Operation Blue.
For ten years, the Nine Flags Festival in Nacogdoches ascelebrated the rich history of Texas. Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas.The Nine Flags Festival began in 1997 and is now one of the most popularholiday celebrations in Texas accordingto the event’s organizers. It celebrates the cultures of the variousnations that have influenced Texas over her historic periods.
Another Saturday event to put on your celebratory calendaris the “LightedHooves and Wheels Parade” in Johnson City. The event is proclaimed as oneof the “biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas LightingTrail,” by Southern Living Magazine. The town will be blanketed with lightsincluding a mere 100,000 lights twinkling on the Blanco County Courthouse. ThePedernales Electric Coop’s Headquarters, not to be outdone, features a lightsforest with over 1 million lights. The celebration of lights continues throughJanuary 1st and features hayrides and carriage rides throughout theholiday season.
The Texas Renaissance Festival, located northwest of Houston near the town of Montgomery, wraps up its theatricalseason over the Thanksgiving weekend with a Celtic Christmas Celebration. Thefestival is considered to be the nation’s largest and most acclaimed Renaissancepark. Organizers claim “Hundreds of costumed performers are showcased in over200 daily performances. Visitors meanderalong shaded cobblestone walkways visiting almost 400 shoppes overflowing withunique arts and crafts of offering delicious foods and beverages. All ages will be amused by the games of skilland human-powered rides. Revel in thesights, sounds, smells, tastes and beauty of this authentically recreated 16thCentury British village with lush landscaped grounds and vines.”
For the athletic among us, the historic town of Gruene,Texas celebrates Thanksgiving Day with a 5k Run/Walk and a ¼ mile kids turkeychase through the Gruene Historic District.Kids 12 and under will be able to chase a turkey mascot for a quarter-milethrough Gruene. Everything starts and ends at Gruene Hall shown in the photoabove with Cowboy Kringle. Speaking of whom, the Texan-style cowboy Santa willbe available on Saturday in Gruene for photos. The photo-op takes place betweenThe Grapevine and The Gruene General Store from 10 to 4.
Football fans fear not. There is an event for you as well asthe Fightin’ Aggies of Texas A&M University take on the Tigers of LSU atKyle Field. Kickoffis at 6:30 p.m. at Kyle Field in College Station.
San Saba, in Central Texas offers up a tasty celebrationwith their Pecan Festival and Venison Chili Cook-off. The self-proclaimed “PecanCapital of the World” and a not-so-bad place for deer hunting takes thecelebration of Thanksgiving to a whole new level with a week-long celebration.Activities include a parade, rodeo, pecan pie eating contest for kids, an artsand crafts fair, dance, live entertainment in the park and the venison chilicook-off in honor of all the deer hunters who help the local economy.
The Alamo City of San Antonio lightsup in style on the evening after Thanksgiving with the river paradefeaturing a million lights along the River Walk.
Fort Worth steps out with a Thanksgiving weekend celebrationof Santa Claus and Gunfight Show featuring the “Weekend in theStockyards” celebration.
If the beach is more to your liking, take a walk on the GalvestonSeawall and build up your appetite for a Thanksgiving Feast at Galveston’sHistoric San Luis Hotel.The brunch which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. features a Cajun Gumbo Bar,a carving station with Roasted Turkey, Prime Rib and Bone-in Ham along withmore food than you could possibly hope to walk away from.
And finally, if you’re ready to “get back to the basics oflove” you can head of to the famous Luckenbach, Texas. Because, after all, “Out in Luckenbach, Texasain’t nobody feelin’ no pain.” Dancers will be kicking up their heels Saturdaynight after Thanksgiving to the music of Fredericksburg’s own Thomas MichaelRiley, 2010 Winner of the Album of the Year from the Academy of Texas Music andthe Texas Music Awards.
As Texans we have much to be grateful for this ThanksgivingWeekend. Texan’s are a special breed and a special way of celebrating. And, asformer Dallas Cowboy’s Quarterback Dandy Don Meredith used to say “Don’t ask aman if he is from Texas. If he is, he will tell you. If he isn’t, don’tembarrass him.”
Lana Shadwick contributedto this article.@LanaShadwick2.Shadwick is a lawyer and contributingwriter and can be followed on Twitter
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor forBreitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow himon Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.