A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart plans being more festive than ever￼
By Kyle Mooty
It’s been a while since Lockhart has been able to fully celebrate Christmas with its annual event downtown and at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library. The Dickens Festival took place for 32 years, but due to COVID-19, the last two years it was forced to change… dramatically.
Co-chair Stephanie Riggin said those putting on the event decided since they were bringing it back full blast, they might as well change things up a little.
The “Dickens Festival” is now “A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart” and will take place Dec. 2-3.
“The last two years have been like hard candy,” Riggin said. “There are a few changes, but we are bringing back the best of the best parts and adding more stuff.
“When you see Christmas through a child’s eyes, it will take all the stress out of you. You can take Christmas card pictures in the library. It’s gorgeous in there. They will be decorating the courthouse. This year we’ll have vendors, and so much more.”
Lockhart Mayor Lew White will handle the lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Caldwell County Courthouse on the Lockhart Square at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
This year, the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GCCHCC) and the Lockhart Downtown Business Association (LDBA) are involved. LBDA’s monthly First Friday event will be Dec. 2, but there will be carolers involved around downtown and more.
“A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart makes for a very festive First Friday,” said Sally Daniel, President of LBDA. “You’ll find carolers, holiday refreshments, a beautifully decorated town square and Courthouse, holiday vendors and a Christmas raffle in the shops. And don’t forget the official lighting of the Christmas tree by Mayor White. If you’ve not felt the Christmas spirit yet, this should do it.”
Keep Lockhart Beautiful is decorating the Courthouse, and the GCCHCC is managing the crafts booths and food vendors. The Friends of the Library will be hosting multiple events.
“Our goal is to make it bigger than ever,” Riggin said. “We wanted to push the town.”
The event was born with then-Librarian Rose Aleta Laurell bringing people into the now-122-year-old library in 1989. She had a Christmas tree and some college students singing carols. The Lockhart Chamber of Commerce began getting involved and the event took off.
A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. Local merchants stay open later for First Friday and this will have a Christmas theme for all those visiting their businesses.
All of the activities for children and their families are free, including Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the library.
There will be entertainment, crafts, and more, including a visit from Santa Claus. There will be a glass blower, and ice sculpturer, a falconer, and Riggin said if the weather cooperates they will be outside. Area choirs will perform. There will be train rides. The University of Texas mariachi band will be there.
““Our motto was no child gets left out,” Riggin said. “It’s kind of our gift to the community because the money the library raises goes to the event. It is not a fundraiser. We want people to come to the library. It has so much to offer all year long. The more comfortable people feel there the more will come back. And it is all free.”
The parade begins on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Last year, people came out in surprisingly great numbers although there was a “Reverse Parade,” where the floats were parked, and people drove their vehicles past them to look. It has been moved from Friday to Saturday because of First Friday and for more people to be able to attend.
“We hope families that work out of town will be easier for them to work it in now,” Riggin said.
“It’s all so exciting coming out of Covid. It’s a full rebirth because the last two years we could not have this, only the parade. Even the library had virtual online exhibits. That only made it more exciting to get back full tilt this year.
“We feel like the Dickens Festival had a wonderful run, but we will expand it now. It’s kind of like a re-branding. A Christmas to remember came about because people come to this and they will always remember it.”
Riggin said the support of the City of Lockhart makes the event possible, and notes that people who come to the free event often leave having bought gas or eaten at local establishments.
“There are a lot of new people in Lockhart,” Riggin said. “We want them to come to love this event as much as we do.
“Once it was 90 degrees outside and we were sweating like crazy and there was a little girl playing in the snow machine. You could see the magic in that child’s eyes. It was worth it. We see grown-ups that once came as kids and now bringing their children. It’s a fun thing. It’s a nice slow-down for two days. It’s exciting to see it is coming back.”