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Free Things to Do in Texas This Weekend : Dec. 15-17

Written by , published December 13, 2017

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 It doesn't cost much to enjoy a weekend in Texas. If you're on the hunt for free fun, head to these events across the state—including bird banding, a luau, and the largest flea market in North Texas. 

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Find more exciting things to do using the Texas Highways Events Calendar database.

Third Monday Trade Days

McKinney: Dec. 15-17

The roots of this monthly market go all the way back to the 1870s—and it is now the largest and oldest flea market in North Texas. About 450 vendors will be in attendance to give you astounding deals on everything from antiques to furniture to gifts. Fuel up by chowing down on some of the State Fair-esque concessions.

Bird Banding

Lake Jackson: Dec. 16

Help research associates at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory with bird banding. If you’re not familiar with the process, birds are captured in very fine nylon nets and are weighed and measured and their species, sex, and age are recorded. Each is fitted with an aluminum leg band with a unique number provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and released unharmed. If the bird is captured again, the band provides the link to retrieve this history, which then provides important information on the routes used by migrating birds, their longevity, and general physical condition. It’s a rare chance to get up-close-and-personal with these fascinating creatures.

Blue Christmas at Blue Hole

Wimberley: Dec. 16

Usually a haven during the summertime, Wimberley’s Blue Hole gets transformed into a winter wonderland for this event, which includes horse carriage rides, an ugly sweater contest, a photo booth, music performances, s’mores around the fire pit, a screening of Elf, and lots of twinkling blue lights.

Christmas in the Park

Reno: Dec. 16

The Reno Parks and Trail Committee is going all out to bring in real snow for this holiday event—while the cold, wet white stuff isn’t guaranteed during a Texas winter, you’ll get to experience the beauty of it. There will also be a clog-dancing performance, live Christmas music, holiday drinks and treats, and, of course, Santa himself.

Christmas Luau Party at Treaty Oak Brewing and Distilling

Dripping Springs: Dec. 16 

Free beer and bourbon samples abound at this Hawaiian-themed Christmas celebration and benefit for Helping Hands of Dripping Springs. Bring a nonperishable food item and enjoy the tree lighting, music by Peggy Stern, and a warming bonfire. For $40 there will be a Tiki cocktail-making class, and food like jerk pulled chicken, ahi poke, and upside-down pineapple-bourbon cake is up for purchase.

48th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting

Stonewall: Dec. 17

This annual tradition first started by President Johnson and the First Lady is now a free park-wide event that bolsters the spirit of the holidays. There will be ornament decorating for the kids, music and cookies inside of the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, carolers, a live nativity scene, star-gazing, and, of course, the illumination of the beautifully decorated cedar tree.

Starlight Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert

Wimberley: Dec. 17

This symphony concert is a little more relaxed than the typical formal performance. Audience members are encouraged to sing-along to holiday classics like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Composed of musicians from across the Hill Country, the Starlight Symphony Orchestra will also play modern takes on holiday tunes featuring special effects inspired by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Attendees also have the opportunity to win a special ornament from Wimberley Glassworks.

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