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Contact: Iris Neffendorf, 830-644-2252The 47th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18th, 2016 at 6 p.m., at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. This tradition was started 47 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 Annual Tree Lighting is a family event and a great way to kick off the holidays. The park is decorated with lights, bows, luminaries, garland and wreaths. Even the nature trails are dressed in their holiday best. The evening is planned full with activities on the state park grounds that will put the entire family in the holiday spirit.
Starting at about 4:30 p.m. enjoy 1800’s Toys and Games at the Behrens Cabins. Then, at 5:00 p.m., inside the State Park Visitor’s Center, artist Lea Cundy, of Blue Donkey Pottery will host ornament decorating for the children. At 5:00 p.m. holiday music will begin by the “Just Because Fun Bunch” Hill Country band members. Prior to the event, visitors arriving to the park should pick up a program for the evening and stop and visit with our State Park employees and volunteers at the Welcome Table for directions, park map, and information on all the evening activities. We hope visitors to the park will take time to help extend holiday wishes to patients at Hill Country Memorial Hospital by signing a holiday card to be delivered to those patients who will not be home for the holidays. Visitors can also stop in the State Park Gift Shop where they will find a wonderful selection of one of kind gifts, including the commemorative 47th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting ornament. Donna Albus and representatives from Keep Texas Beautiful will be on hand with their fabulous collection of ornaments, including the newest 13th Edition featuring the “Dazzling Texas Natives”.
The main tree lighting program will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the State Park Courtyard where the traditional native cedar Christmas tree will be lit at the conclusion of the program. As the evening progresses, enjoy carolers, a live nativity and at the Behrens Cabin, Phil Friddell will present 1800s Cattle Trade History. Enjoy refreshments sponsored by the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce and Fredericksburg HEB in the Exhibit Hall. Children can also make a stop there and visit with Santa himself. Visitors may also view the photo program of Tree Lighting Ceremonies of the past and exhibits featuring President Johnson and the First Lady in the Auditorium.
Take a walk down our lighted trail and visit the chuck wagon and hear storytelling through the night by the LBJ National Historical Park Service Ranger. 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 1900s 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 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 accordion music with Pastor and Ada Smerek. In the farm kitchen select a sample from the many delicious cookies served by the local costumed volunteers and staff. 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 out under the Texas sky at the wagon and campfire circle area.
For those unable to walk the trail to the Living History Farm, or those with special needs, a shuttle bus provided by the National Park Service will be available to transport park visitors between the Visitor Center and the farmstead.
In the spirit of the season, this is a free event to the public, but donations to the park are always welcomed. This family holiday event is outdoors, 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. It is also recommended that day touring at the Living History Farm or Park Exhibit Hall be done prior to 3 p.m. on that Sunday as they will temporarily close to transition to the evening program and reopen after the main program in the courtyard for public viewing.
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 park and this event please call 830-644-2252.