Kids, bundled in their winter coats and scarves, belly flop onto inner tubes as they slide down a giant snow hill created in the heart of downtown Waco. As their laughter floats into the cold air, patrons can smell a variety of culinary creations wafting from a line of food trucks and see the twinkling lights of the city Christmas tree.
Locals can expect all of these holiday-related activities and much more when they come out to the fourth annual Waco Wonderland Dec. 2 through 4.
Holiday for fun for all
The event was originally created by the Downtown Public Improvement District and the City of Waco to fill a void in the Waco community for a holiday event that appeals to families.
“There’s nothing like a holiday event,” said City of Waco marketing director, Jonathan Cook. “It’s a great event for grandkids to come with their grandparents or families. It’s just a great way to kick off the holiday season.”
In years past, the event has been an eight-day event, with musical performances, a Ferris wheel, and a vendor’s village. While many of the aspects that make Waco Wonderland unique will be returning this year, the length of the event will not.
“We’re taking all of the really popular elements and putting them all into one weekend instead of stretching it out,” Cook said.
Downtown Waco tubing
Although the event won’t be quite as long, the organizers are bringing in a brand new attraction—a snow hill.
“Kids will have the opportunity to grab an inner tube and slide down the hill,” he said. “The tubes are provided. You just need to come and be ready to have some fun.”
Kick-off the holidays
Waco Wonderland kicks off on Friday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. with a tree lighting, an appearance from the big man in red himself, and a fireworks display. The next morning the city will host a holiday parade that will travel down Austin Avenue.
“The snow hill will be open by Saturday afternoon and will be there until Sunday evening,” Cook said. “Then we will have the Ferris wheel, food trucks and a vendor’s village open to the public.”
Celebrate all month long
And if you enjoy the weekend’s events, you can try some of the other Waco Wonderland-sponsored events that are happening throughout the month including more visits from Santa, movies at the Hippodrome, art performances, and a holiday-themed race.
“There is a small charge for the snow hill and the Ferris wheel, but overall the event is free,” Cook said. “We definitely want to make it affordable for all families.”
For more information about Waco Wonderland visit wacowonderland.com.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of two energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys running around with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects and home decor.