LBJ Tree Lighting
It’s that wonderful time of year here at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site with the 44th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting being held on December 15, 2013 at 6 p.m. This tradition was started 44 years ago in the Hill Country community by President and Mrs. Johnson. This is a memorable family evening for all to experience the heritage of the Texas Hill Country and continue the legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson and his family.
The LBJ Tree Lighting event is a wonderful tradition here in the Texas Hill Country. Families are encouraged to come out to the park and plan to enjoy a delightful experience as the park transitions from daytime to nighttime in festive holiday fare. Lights, bows, luminaries, garland and wreaths adorn the buildings in the park. Even the nature trails are dressed in their holiday best. The evening is planned full with activities on the state park ground’s that will put the entire family in the holiday spirit.
Activities will begin before the program in the State Park Gift Shop and Bookstore from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Ned and Barbara McLeane will host ornament decorating for the children. Representatives from Keep Texas Beautiful will be on hand with their fabulous collection of ornaments, including the newest 10th Edition titled, “Whole Lotta Texas.” Lone star Candy Bar will be sampling tasty candy delights as well. In the State Park Gift Shop, visitors will find a wonderful selection of one of kind gifts sure to please everyone on your list. Don’t forget the 3-D glasses and flashlights sold in the store as these are a great addition to the evening.
At 5:30 p.m. holiday music will begin by the “Polka Dots” German band under the direction of Ed Creekmore. At 6 p.m., as the park transitions from dusk to darkness, enjoy carolers, a live nativity, and the spectacular lighting of a beautiful native cedar tree. At the Beherens Cabin, Ina Heinen with the Uvalde Historic Commission will present 1800’s Toys and Games for all to see and enjoy. The classic Christmas movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will be shown in the park theater following the program. Enjoy refreshments and a visit from Santa himself. Visitors may also view the photo program of Tree Lighting Ceremonies of the past. On display, for the first time, a collection of five Christmas greeting cards that President Johnson and the First Lady sent out to the White House at Christmas from 1964-1968.
At the Behrens Cabins a new feature from the Texas Bison Association titled, “Texas Buffalo Stampede” will be available for all to see and enjoy. Take a walk down our lighted trail and visit the chuck wagon and hear storytelling through the night. As visitors continue down the trail, they will be able to stop and visit with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Buffalo Soldiers.
Next, step back to the early nineteen hundreds as you enter the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. The farm has been transformed into the traditional Christmas holiday period enjoyed by the young Lyndon B. Johnson, his family and friends along the banks of the Pedernales. Costumed interpreters will be doing last minute activities in preparation for a traditional Eastern Gillespie German farm family holiday. Enjoy the music provided by the Fredericksburg Community Orchestra, directed by Theresa Britt; as well as harmonic player, Andy Laumann, and the Christmas carols of the Rev. Percy and Ada Smerek. In the farm kitchen select a sample from the many delicious cookies served by the local costumed volunteers. In the Victorian parlor stop and admire the traditional candlelit German Christmas tree. It would not be Christmas without the festive holiday music of Andy Laumann on the harmonica and the Fredericksburg Orchestra. Many families have made a stop at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm an annual Christmas tradition. Remember to bring along a camera for that special family photo. For those unable to walk the trail to the Living History Farm, or those with special needs, a shuttle bus will be available to transport park visitors back and forth between the Visitor Center and the farmstead.
In the spirit of the season, this is a free event, but donations to the park are always welcomed. This family holiday event is outside, so the public is reminded to dress accordingly for the weather and bring a flashlight to enjoy this memorable evening. Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site is located 14 miles west of Johnson City and 13 miles east of Fredericksburg off Highway 290 in Stonewall, Texas at 199 Park Road 52.
Also a reminder during the holidays the park will be open daily except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day there is limited access and the buildings and farm will be closed.
For more information about the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site and upcoming events and activities go to the park Facebook page or to the park website. This park is a great stop any time of year for the family.