Visitors will experience a frontier Christmas from 6:30-9 p.m. Dec. 9-10 when the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) at Texas Tech University celebrates its 44th Annual Candlelight at the Ranch.
The event is free to the public with a suggested minimum $5 donation per family. In addition to more than 5,000 luminaries lining the paths of the 19-acre historic park, holiday scenes created in the historic structures will be lit as much as possible with lanterns, fireplaces and campfires.
“Pioneer ranches had no electricity, so we try to take each of our historic structures back to what it would have looked like at Christmas in its own time,” said Julie Hodges, NRHC Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education, emphasizing that most of the 55 structures in the park are between 100 and 175 years old. As a result, many new volunteers have both fire and firearm safety training in the days leading up to Candlelight at the Ranch.
“This year we’ve had more volunteer sign-ups than ever before,” she added. “More than 200 community volunteers – many dressed in period clothing – will help recreate what Christmas might have been like on the open prairie during frontier days. Candlelight at the Ranch would be impossible without them!”
In addition to individual volunteers, many community and campus organizations as well as musical groups will welcome guests to the event. Visitors can purchase refreshments in the decorated 1908 Four Sixes Barn while they listen to Brazos West play Christmas music with a Texas swing. Boomerang BBQ and Kurbside Sweets will have food trucks out front, and kettle corn will be available on the patio.
Santa Claus will be located in the Pitchfork Pavilion but will leave promptly at 9:30 p.m. To avoid long lines, Candlelight at the Ranch uses an “open range” concept that allows visitors to choose in what order they view the historic structures, which lighted pathways they take and when to exit the park prior to closing. The NRHC is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
In cooperation with the NRHC, the International Cultural Center (ICC) at Texas Tech will host Weihnachtfest: A Celebration of German Christmas Traditions from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 9).
Traditions include the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble of the Texas Tech School of Music, crafts, gingerbread cookies and sausage. The ICC is located at 601 Indiana Ave., within easy walking distance of the NRHC, and the event is free to the public.
To learn more about Candlelight at the Ranch, click here. For questions, contact (806) 742-0498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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