Don Strange Ranch Christmas Light Fest: A True Boerne Gem
All the Details:
Who: The whole family
What: Christmas Light Fest
When: Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve
Fr-Sat & Holidays, 6-10p
Where: Don Strange Ranch
103 Waring Welfare Rd
Boerne, TX 78006
Why: Because it’s Christmas!
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we all know what that means…Christmas! Our family had a HUGE bucket list of activities we wanted to get to this weekend to kick off the season and one of those was Christmas Light Fest at the Don Strange Ranch. So, Friday evening, we made the short drive up to check it out. GPS took us straight there and there was a sign on the side of the road pointing us to the entrance. Once you turn in, you can either continue straight to catch the hayride through the lights (how cool is that?!) or you can make a left turn to join the procession through the lights from the comfort of your own car. And let’s talk about those lights! There are over TWO MILLION of them, stretching over the course of TWO MILES, all under a super dark Texas sky with no light pollution for miles around (photos courtesy of Christmas Light Fest):
There were two tunnels of lights on the first half of the tour: a beautifully lit multicolored tunnel (which my daughter LOVED) and a red white and blue tunnel with, what else, but a Texas flag to greet you at the end (photos courtesy of Christmas Light Fest)!
After making our way through the first half of the lights, we parked and wandered over to Santa’s Village, which is actually located at Kendall Creek, a wedding and event center that is part of the Ranch. This place is deceptively large since the building is rather long. Upon entering the first thing you notice is, of course, LIGHTS! So many beautiful white Christmas lights hung from every wooden beam, wrapped around every pole, and strung along anything that doesn’t move. Next you notice the giant, roaring rock fireplace all the way in the back and the larger-than-life wood doors flanking either side of it. It’s here by the fireplace that you’ll find Santa and his tree, cheerfully posing for photos with the kids (and some “children at heart” apparently, too!). Back up by the front of the barn is the food: cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sausage-on-a-stick, fajitas, cake, hot cocoa, s’mores kits, and of course soda and water. Looking for something to keep you a bit warmer on a chilly night? No worries; there’s a cantina just outside the barn, fully stocked with your favorite beer and wine too.
We had no problem finding a spot to enjoy our dinner at one of the many tables that filled the center of the barn and there were heat lamps placed throughout to keep everyone nice and toasty. There were vendors of every sort selling everything from goat’s milk skin care products and baby items to repurposed liquor bottles, cookies, and kettle corn. I wish we would have had more time to shop, but bedtime was calling our young kids and we knew there was still much more to see and do outside!
Once outside, again, you’ll find the cantina. You’ll also find:
The famous Don Strange Ranch longhorns just waiting to be fed by little hands (photos courtesy of Christmas Light Fest):
A few firepits where you can roast those marshmallows for the s’mores kits you picked up inside. This seemed to be the adults’ favorite place to hang out, with a tasty beverage in hand, enjoying good company and watching their littles run through the glow of the Christmas lights:
A giant chalkboard wall where you could write your Christmas wish list and letters for Santa:
And of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a couple of good photo props:
You can also pick up the hay ride from this location or just let the kids burn off that last bit of energy by running through the magically-lit red, white, and green trees surrounding the village:
Once you’re all successfully stuffed with eats and treats and those little legs are starting to get tired, load everybody back up into the car and you still have the other half of the drive through lights to enjoy! There’s another tunnel of lights on your way out (which, you know is everybody’s favorite part) and a parking area at the very end so you can stop and make sure everyone is safely buckled back up before hitting the road.
This was our second year to enjoy Christmas Light Fest, but our first to actually get out and explore Santa’s Village. The first time we went, we just didn’t feel it was a good time to see what it was all about (it was cold...baby was tired; you know how that goes). I have to say that it is a completely different experience when you take the time to visit Santa’s Village. That is truly the heart of Christmas Light Fest. The lights are beautiful, of course, but those awesome family memories that we all want to make with our kids at the holidays? That’s found at the Village. So, go early, bring a carrier or stroller and some snacks for the baby (a carrier makes more sense, honestly, as it can be a bit crowded at times), and really enjoy yourselves. You’ll be so glad you did!
Have you been to Christmas Light Fest? What other Christmas activities does your family enjoy in the Hill Country?
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NOTE: This post was written in partnership with Christmas Light Fest.