LBJ Tree Lighting
It's that wonderful time of year here at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. The 43rd Annual LBJ Tree Lighting will be held on December 16, 2012 at 6:00 p.m, a tradition that was started 43 years ago in the Hill Country community by President and Mrs. Johnson. This is a memorable family evening for all to experience the German heritage of the Texas Hill Country and continue the legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson and his family.
This event has become a wonderful tradition here in the Texas Hill Country. Families are encouraged to come out to LBJ State Park and enjoy a wonderful experience as the park transitions from daytime to nighttime in wonderful holiday fare. Lights, bows, luminaries, garland and wreaths adorn every building in the park, even the nature trails.
Iris Neffendorf, Park Superintendent stated, “As a tribute to Lady Bird Johnson’s centennial birthday, December 22, 2012, there will be a large birthday card for visitors to sign. This card will be framed and displayed in the park for many years to come. There is also for the first time a lovely collectible Lady Bird Johnson porcelain 20-inch doll for visitors to enjoy along with the new Wildflower exhibit that was unveiled this past spring.”
Activities will begin before the program in the State Park Gift Shop. From 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fischer and Weiser foods will be conducting a sampling. Then from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Lorilee’s Gourmet peanut brittle will also conduct a sampling. Then, starting at 5:30 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 9th edition titled “Texas Music.” Book signing will be conducted by the illustrator of “Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers”, Joy Fisher Hein. Also the author of “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” and “Return to the Willows”, Jacqueline Kelly and Illustrator Clint Young will be on hand signing books from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Visitors will find a wonderful selection of one of a kind gifts, local made pottery and delicious food gifts sure to please everyone on their holiday list.
At 5:30 p.m. holiday music will begin by the “Polka Dots” German band under the direction of Ed Creekmore. They will provide authentic German songs and Christmas tunes, all which will have great appeal to the audience of all ages. As dusk turns to darkness, enjoy carolers, a live nativity, and the spectacular lighting of a beautiful native cedar tree. At the Behren’s Cabins, Ina Heinen and Carolyn Biediger will be displaying 1800’s Toys and Games for all to see and enjoy. Also at the cabins, spinners Deborah Russell and Eloise McGinnis will give a wonderful spinning demonstration.
Enjoy refreshments and a visit from Santa himself. Visitors may also enjoy the photo program of Tree Lighting Ceremonies of the past.
Take time to 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.
Walk back in time down the lighted nature trail and hear a Christmas story at the LBJ National Park Service chuck wagon. Then visitors should travel a little further down the path where they can visit with the Texas Buffalo Soldiers. This group is part of the TPWD Heritage and Outreach Program, which is sure to be a special treat to see along with the many other stops along the trail. At the end of the trail, visitors will enter the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. There they will find the farm lit amid glowing lanterns a traditional candlelit German Christmas tree and delicious cookies and cakes to enjoy. Festive holiday music by Andy Laumann on the harmonica and the Fredericksburg Orchestra will fill the air as visitors enjoy the 1915 farmstead.
All the evening program activities this year will take place at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site grounds. However, visitors are encouraged to spend the entire day at the State Park. Pack a picnic basket and then during the day take the self guided driving tour of the LBJ State and National Parks. Tour the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, LBJ Ranch, and Texas White House. Then plan to stay late into the evening and see how the State Park transfers to an evening of yuletide fun for the entire family. Don’t forget to bring your camera and friends.
In the spirit of the season, this is a free family event, but donations are always welcomed at the State Park. It is outside, so the public should dress 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. For travel directions or other information, please call (830) 644-2252.
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. The park is open daily this holiday season except Christmas Day and New Years day there is limited access. This park is a great stop any time of year for the family.