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Entertain family & friends in Abilene this Christmas

November 22, 2021Kelly Thompson, Communications Director for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Family and friends will gather this week with warm feelings of gratitude. Some folks might be seeing each other for the first time in a long time, and that will make this holiday season special.

These gatherings will be good for business. The forecast is bright for the domestic travel industry this week. Destination Analysts’ most recent  consumer sentiment report indicates Thanksgiving travel could exceed pre-pandemic numbers. More than 30% say they plan to travel this week, an almost 7% increase from 2019 and more than double the number who ventured out in 2020.

Invite your loved ones to Abilene for the holidays! The city will be bursting with festivities to entertain family and friends. The Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau’s community calendar is updated weekly as more events pop up, including a local vendor markets. Hit those on Small Business Saturday, Nov 27, and find unique gifts from local merchants and artisans.

The United Way’s amazing Winter Lightfest will open Friday.  More than 47,000 people attended the open-air event last year, and organizers say this third year will be the biggest and brightest yet. Guests can stroll a ¾-mile trail to see 3 million twinkling lights, sip hot chocolate, and hear choral groups sing each evening. Be sure to wear your favorite Christmas attire because you’ll want to capture a few photos. The grounds feature installations designed for posing, so you can save those holiday memories. Here’s a pro tip: Golf cart tours are available on Sunday evenings if you make reservations, ideal for loved ones with limited mobility.  Groups of 20 or more can get a discount, too. What’s more, proceeds benefit all of the charities supported by the United Way of Abilene.

The 33rd Annual Fox West Texas Christmas Lights Parade is back this year, after a break in 2020. This beloved tradition will march through downtown Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 6:30 pm. We suggest you arrive early to hear Christmas music performed by student groups that will be scattered throughout the cultural district. Take note: The parade will have a new route, turning on North 4th Street instead of North 6th to make way for the new hotel. Our favorite way to watch is from a downtown restaurant or watering hole, but you’ll need to plan and make reservations.

The Abilene Zoo Christmas Celebration always gets rave reviews, and this will be the third year for that extravaganza. The zoo stays open late from Dec. 17-23 and turns into a wild winter wonderland. Guests can ice skate, decorate cookies, eat s’mores by a fire, see real reindeer and a live nativity scene.

Shopping local is always important, and this year it’s wise, too. Avoid shipping delays and support the local economy. These ornaments are real keepsakes, with scenes of storybook sculpture and the historic T&P Depot. New this year will be the Paramount Theatre marquee, and we know this will be a favorite ornament to hang on everyone’s trees. Reach out to bailey@abilenevisitors.com and let her know how many ornaments you’ll need. Stay merry! The future looks bright.

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