Christmas trees, Santa and stockings are well known trappings of the holiday season—but what about campfires, cannons and cowboys? They’re all part of the festivities at historic Fort Concho in San Angelo, which hosts an annual Christmas celebration that attracts more than 15,000 holiday merrymakers each year.
The three-day festival fills the 40-acre site with cheer, including special programs, children’s activities, living-history displays, walking tours, displays and old-fashioned entertainment. Those with gift shopping to do can browse items from merchants and artisans in several of the site’s historic buildings. Campsites of re-enactors at the Winter Rendezvous play music, perform military drills and demonstrate skills useful in frontier Texas, when Fort Concho was established to patrol West Texas and protect settlements from 1867-88. Today, the site is a National Historic Landmark and includes 21 original and restored structures for visitors to explore.
The more, the merrier
Looking for more Christmas events? Jingle all the way through the season with our comprehensive list of holiday happenings across Texas. Our list of Lone Star light displays will keep your nights merry and bright, too!
The festival has been an annual tradition since 1982 and has attracted many longtime devotees. “Year to year, we have different vendors, events and entertainers to keep it fresh,” says Bob Bluthardt, site manager for Fort Concho. “Many volunteers and guests make this an annual tradition—we have volunteers who have been helping for 20-plus years.”
The Christmas event is the fort’s biggest occasion of the year and goes on rain or shine, cold or not, as the capricious West Texas weather sees fit. Tickets for single day or full weekend admission are available on site or by calling 325/481-2646—additional tickets also may be required for featured children’s workshops and other programs. This year’s event is Dec. 4-6, plus a special pre-festival concert on Thursday by singer Weldon Henson. Visit www.fortconcho.com for details.