Begin the holiday season with Texas’ earliest residents and see how holiday traditions were celebrated in the late 1800s on December 14 and 15, 3 - 9 p.m., at the 42nd Annual Candlelight Celebration at Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 South Harwood, sponsored by Baylor Health Care System.
“Get Wrapped Up in Candlelight” will be this year’s theme, celebrating the beauty of holidays past with seasonal décor and traditional celebrations featured throughout the Village. Take a stroll and experience gleeful carolers, holiday storytelling, hand-weaving, blacksmithing, interpreters in traditional costume, and many other festive activities such as the American Flyer model train exhibit in the Depot, operated by the Lone Star Flyer Model Train Club.
“There are few places that get people in the holiday spirit like Candlelight, which sets a beautiful landscape for the season, honoring and creating memories,” said Melissa Prycer, Interim Executive Director, Dallas Heritage Village. “Candlelight is a magical event that has been a holiday tradition in Dallas for 42 years, and we welcome visitors from across the globe.”
During Candlelight, pioneer and Victorian Texas is brought to life by characters dressed in period costumes. Guests may explore 38 historic buildings, circa 1840 to 1910, traditionally decorated by area garden clubs. Different family holiday traditions and activities are celebrated at Candlelight by interpreters. Visit with Mrs. Freeman in the Shotgun House and Mrs. de Léon in her two-room Tejano home, both preparing for the holidays. At the 1860s Farmstead, see how early Dallas pioneers enjoyed a modest Christmas as the country approached the Civil War. Listen to Cowboys tell tales around the bonfire, and stop by the Alamo saloon for a root beer and a game of dominoes. Don’t forget to visit a special 19th century guest, St. Nicholas, in the Depot and snap a photo with him.
This year Dallas Heritage Village welcomes back the bandstand, one of its most beloved structures. The bandstand was in need of some preservation work and a “secret Santa” stepped forward to give it a much needed facelift. The new structure will be revealed and the generous donor named prior to Candlelight. Stop by the bandstand and share a special past memory of this structure or participate in a Christmas craft.
New this year, attendees my visit the booths of local artisans as well as a satellite Dallas Heritage Village store, set up in Browder Springs Hall. Letterpress notecards and Candlelight bandstand prints will be available for purchase along with commemorative bandstand ornaments, celebrating the past and future of what is one of Dallas Heritage Village’s most recognized landmarks.
Also in Browder Springs Hall and the Law Office, kids may participate in hands-on holiday crafts, which include creating macramé candles with a few simple knots; making or playing an old-fashioned game, using the ancient art of paper folding (origami); and creating hand-decorated wrapping paper using pioneer techniques. Attendees may also ride around the Village in a surrey pulled by the Village’s loveable Mammoth Jack donkeys Nip and Tuck ($5 per rider) or a hay wagon pulled by a vintage tractor ($3 per rider). Local food trucks, such as Ruthie’s Grilled Cheese Truck, Tutta’s Pizza, Easy Slider, Good Karma Kitchen, and more will have delicious food available to purchase. Wine will be available for purchase from Times Ten Cellars.
Local musicians, dancers and storytellers entertain at the Renner School (circa 1888), on the Main Street (circa 1900) stage, in the Pilot Grove Church (circa 1890), on porches of Victorian homes and along the candlelit pathways of the Village. Holiday tales will be recounted and seasonal songs sung by strolling carolers throughout the village. Local entertainment groups include dance companies, musicians, bands, choirs, and many others. Performers to date include the Allegro Guitar Society, Lakewood Varsity Chorus, and Shufflin’ Shoe. For a complete list of performers and performance times, please visit www.DallasHeritageVillage.org.
All proceeds from Candlelight, the museum’s biggest annual public fundraiser, benefit museum programs at Dallas Heritage Village. General admission to Candlelight (gate prices) is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 65+ and $8 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under and museum members are free. Tickets purchased online at www.DallasHeritageVillage.org by December 6 are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65+ and $6 for children. Visit http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/candlelight for more details or call 214-421-5141. Farmers Market, one block north of Dallas Heritage Village on Harwood Street, offers limited free public parking. Self-parking at the Village is available for $5 and valet-parking for $10 per vehicle. Guests with valid handicap tags will be able to valet park for $5.
Candlelight corporate and family sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Lisa Simpson at 214-413-3662, firstname.lastname@example.org. Various sponsorship levels are available with benefits as well as area and activity sponsorships.
Special Days during the Holiday Season
Decorated by local garden clubs and community groups, the Village’s 38 historic structures will be open for touring during regular museum hours throughout December. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12-4 p.m. (Closed on Monday).
With the exception of December 14 and 15, free parking is available at the Village throughout the season.