Holiday season is here, and with it comes gift shopping, parades, tree lightings and sightings of Santa Claus around the Central Texas area.

PARADES

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

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. Monday. 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.” 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 Harker Heights tree lighting ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. today 1 at 305 Millers Crossing in Harker Heights. Music will be provided by the Harker Heights High School Orchestra as well as refreshments for visitors.

Killeen’s tree lighting ceremony will be from 6 to 9 p.m. today 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. today at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center, 801 N. Fourth St., Killeen. Tickets can be purchased at texasmetropolitanballet.com.

Copperas Cove is hosting a Christmas Extravaganza from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the city park, 1206 W. Avenue B. Admission is $5 a car with an option to purchase a wristband for an additional $5 per person for unlimited access to the events. Christmas tree lighting, live nativity scene, live music, food, petting zoo, pony rides and more will be available.

The 11th annual Christmas on the Farm event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 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. Saturday 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.

The First United Methodist Church of Killeen is hosting a “Walk Through Bethlehem” from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Methodist Park off Cunningham Road.

Performances of a living nativity scene will be at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 9, and 5 p.m. Dec. 10. For admission to the event, bring one canned good or monetary donation per person to be donated to the Killeen Food Care Center.

Temple’s Santa Fest Holiday Market will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday 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 today through Sunday 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 today through Sunday 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 Sunday 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.

NATURE IN LIGHTS

The annual Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Center’s “Nature in Lights” 5.5-mile-long holiday light trail is open and will continue 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 Thursday through Sunday until 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 until 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 aide 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.

254-501-7557 | bsodic@kdhnews.com

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