Soldiers and family members looking for things to do this holiday season don’t have to look very far as a number of events will be held in the Central Texas area.

The annual Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Center’s “Nature in Lights” 5.5-mile-long holiday light trail opens Friday and continues until Jan. 7. The trail will be open every day from 5:30 to 11 p.m., including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas holidays.

In addition to the over 100 light scene setups, Santa’s Village will be open Friday to Sunday this weekend; and Thursday through Sunday from Nov. 23 to Dec. 10, and nightly Dec. 14 -24.

Located at Live Oak Pavilion, Santa’s Village will offer guests concessions, holiday novelties and photos with Santa.

Surveys will be available inside Santa’s Village Friday to Nov. 30 for guests to fill out for a chance to win a 43-inch television or a two-night stay in a cottage at BLORA. This is the first year BLORA has offered a grand-prize drawing for the survey, said Shamirah Lowe, recreation aid at BLORA.

Santa’s Depot will run concurrently with Santa’s Village and offers an exclusive look at the trail of lights by train, as well as pony rides, in the parking lot of the marina cove. Tickets for Santa’s Depot are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

The cost for one car, mini-van or pickup is $15, which is an increase in price from years past. Fifteen-person passenger vans, limos or RVs pay $30. Twenty-four-person passenger vans pay $50, and 47-person passenger vans or larger buses pay $75.

Thanksgiving events

The Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove and the city are hosting the 20th annual Feast of Sharing from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, 1206 W. Avenue B. A free meal will be offered for all who attend.

Harker Heights H-E-B is hosting a Food For Families food drive from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. The grocery store is asking members of the community to drop off nonperishable items such as canned goods to help fill the local food bank. The H-E-B is at 601 Indian Trail, Harker Heights.

The annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk will be at 8 a.m. Saturday at Abrams Physical Fitness Center, 62nd Street and Support Avenue at Fort Hood. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is on-site from 7 to 7:30 a.m. the day of the event, or online through the MWR website.

Grace United Methodist Church in Copperas Cove is hosting GraceGiving from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22. The community is welcome to grab a free turkey dinner complete with sides and dessert. The church is at 101 W. Avenue F.

The Soldiers Hospitality House, 3950 Chaparral Road, in Killeen, is serving a Thanksgiving dinner at 2 p.m. Nov. 23 for soldiers and their families.

A Thanksgiving 5K will be at 7 a.m. Nov. 23 at the Andy K. Wells Trail, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., in Killeen. The event is hosted by Under Konstruction Bootcamp and registration can be completed before race day at its office, 2802 W. Stan Schlueter Loop, suite 220, Killeen.

Parades

The Copperas Cove 2017 Christmas Parade will be downtown at 3 p.m. Dec. 2. The theme for the parade this year is “Santa’s Workshop.”

The Salado Christmas Parade will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30, along Main Street to kick off the Salado Christmas Stroll.

Temple’s 71st annual Christmas Parade will kick off with a tree lighting in front of the Municipal Building on Adams Avenue at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 4. The parade will start at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of East Adams Avenue and Eighth Street and will proceed west along Adams past the Municipal Building. The theme for this year is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and entry deadline to participate is Friday. For more information, call 254-298-5440.

Killeen’s 55th “Magic of Christmas” Parade will take place at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 9, in downtown. For more information, call 254-501-7878.

Holiday events

The annual Wreath Project, which prepares and places holiday wreaths at each grave at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, needs volunteers to prepare the wreaths at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3301 W.S. Young Drive. Volunteers may also help distribute and lay the wreaths during the Wreath Laying Ceremony at 10 a.m. Nov. 25 at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, 11463 State Highway 195. Wreath retrieval is at 10 a.m. Jan. 13, which will also be open to volunteers.

The 36th annual Holiday Bazaar, hosted by the Fort Hood Spouses’ Club, will be Saturday and Sunday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive. The bazaar is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visitors can expect arts and crafts vendors, food, door prizes and pictures with Santa.

Killeen’s tree lighting ceremony will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Movies, live entertainment and photos with Santa will be available.

The Texas Metropolitan Ballet will perform “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center, 801 N. Fourth St., Killeen. Tickets can be purchased at texasmetropolitanballet.com.

The 11th annual Christmas on the Farm event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Bell County Expo Center, 301 W. Loop 121, Belton.

Holiday Under the Stars will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Activities will include Breakfast with Santa, a Jingle Bell Dash, a car show, live entertainment and a kids’ fun zone.

Temple’s Santa Fest Holiday Market will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic & Convention Center, 3303 N. Third St. Arts and crafts, food trucks and deals from local merchants will be available at the event. The market is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Sennett Farias at 254-298-5900, sfarias@templetx.gov.

The Copperas Cove Downtown Christmas Bazaar and Krist Kindl Markt will be Dec. 1-3 at 204 E. Robertson Ave. The weekend will include free visits with Santa, food, crafts, music, a Krist Kindl Pageant and a tree lighting ceremony.

The Salado Christmas Stroll will take place Dec. 1- 3 and Dec. 8-10. Local stores will stay open late for Christmas shopping, live music can be found on South Main Street, a nativity scene at the First Baptist Church parking lot will be set up, funnel cakes and kettle corn can be purchased from food tents set up outside the Strawberry Patch parking lot and Main Street will be decorated with lights.

The Tri-County Toy Run “Ride for the Kids” will be Dec. 3 at the American Legion Post 133, 1300 S. 25th St,, corner of 25th and Avenue M in Temple. Free breakfast will be offered at 9:30 a.m. along with registration. The escorted ride will depart at 1 p.m. and will end at Holiday House, 908 E. Fourth Street, Lampasas. Toy distribution and a free chili supper will occur at the end of the ride. Admission for the ride will be either a cash donation or a new toy.

Tablerock Amphitheater on Royal Street in Salado will host the 25th annual performance of “A Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9. Tickets can be purchased at the gate on the night of the performance and are $10 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for children 12 and younger.

254-501-7557 | bsodic@kdhnews.com

254-501-7557 | bsodic@kdhnews.com

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