Christmas on the Brazos

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IMG_2257By Jeanne Albrecht

The historic Christmas traditions of Texas in the 1800s will transport visitors into the past at the Christmas on the Brazos celebration at the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site – the very spot “Where Texas Became Texas” – on Saturday, December 12. Free and low-cost holiday activities for all ages include period music, craft making, readings, food samplings, and sale of artisan gifts. The day culminates in the park’s popular Candlelight Christmas event at Barrington Living History Farm, featuring vignettes of Texian frontier festivities with music, musket firing, dancing, and a candlelit tour of the farm.

Many holiday activities occur throughout the day and are staggered throughout the park.

Independence Hall: Christmas stories will be read in the Hall by staff in period clothing at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The Star of the Republic Museum will host “make-and-take” period crafts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with regular admission fees and no charge for the crafts. The museum will be open during regular business hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The site’s Visitor Center and Washington Emporium Gift Shop will be open from 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. and will feature merchandise from Texas artisans, family friendly activities, and a self-serve photo opportunity with Santa and miniature horses standing in for his reindeer.

Barrington Living History Farm will be open from noon until 3:30 p.m. and then will close for one hour to prepare for the Candlelight Christmas event, which starts at 4:30 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m.

IMG_0098Candlelight Christmas at Barrington Farm welcomes its guests into the 1850s and fills their senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of yesteryear against the backdrop of a star-filled night sky, smoke and flames from the wood fireplace and bonfire in the field, flickering lanterns and candlelit paths, and gunfire and cheers from a rowdy band of Texian revelers. The evening includes a tour of the historic home of the last president of the Republic of Texas, Dr. Anson Jones, as interpreters recreate how the family would have enjoyed Christmas, including an 1850s Santa. The slave quarters will also be decorated in typical style for the 1850s. Each tour culminates in a barn dance where visitors are welcome to join in.

The Candlelight Christmas evening event consists of guided tours for small groups, each lasting approximately an hour, with tours leaving every 15 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m. The last tour leaves at 8 p.m.

Advance reservations are strongly recommended and will be accepted beginning November 1. Walk-ins are welcome if space permits. Regular admission fees will apply for the park’s attractions. Visitors should dress appropriately for the weather and uneven walking surfaces since the event will take place throughout the farm.

Details:

Christmas on the Brazos and Candlelight Christmas will be held Saturday, December 12, at Washington on the Brazos State Historical Park, located at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington—approximately halfway between Brenham and Navasota, off of State Hwy. 105. From Hwy. 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12. Visitors are welcome to bring food and drink into the park, but no glass bottles or alcoholic beverages are allowed. As always, parking is free.

Leashed pets are allowed in park, but are NOT allowed onto farm site or inside buildings. Sites are accessible for the mobility impaired. The park grounds open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., after the evening event.

This Christmas event is sponsored by TPWD, Star of the Republic Museum/Blinn College and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association. For more information or to make reservations, contact Jessica Guidry at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or barrington.farm@tpwd.texas.gov.