Things to Do

Holidays in the Hill Country: Johnson City

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Tony Maples Photography


By Spring Sault

William Shakespeare is quoted as saying, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

If that truly is the case, then Johnson City is overflowing with good-deed-doers and then some! With one of the largest holiday light displays in all of Texas it’s hard to miss this town! And you won’t want to. Between a spectacular lighting ceremony happening at the Blanco County Courthouse, visits from Santa, carriage and hay rides, and annual toy and fundraising drive for a children’s home, if there was a soundtrack for your time spent here it would almost seem like something by Rodgers & Hammerstein! These are the Holidays in Hill Country – Johnson City:

1. Things to Do

Holidays in the Hill Country Johnson City


If you’re into sight-seeing, hop on your motorcycle (or in your car)! Contact the folks involved with the Johnson City Hill Country Toy Run. This event takes place in the month of December (for date and full specifics please email [email protected]) in which a caravan of motorcycles and vehicles, led by Santa, rallies to the Cherokee Home for Children in Cherokee, TX. Leaving from Johnson City, they bring with them toys for the kids and donations for the home that have been collected through numerous contributors and at various events such as the Hill Country Pig Roast, held at the Blanco County Fairgrounds annually.

Volunteers work to have all individual gifts purchased and wrapped by December 1st based on a wish list that each child at the home has written themselves. Remaining funds are presented to the executive director for the purpose of meeting the home’s operation and maintenance needs or specific needs of the kids. After watching the children open their gifts, motorcycle enthusiasts (and others) share a meal with the kids that is provided by the home and spend the afternoon with them, including giving free bike rides. Interested individuals that would like to participate in such a worthwhile event are encouraged to contact the organizers via email (listed above) at their earliest convenience. It’s a heartwarming holiday event highlighting the spirit of the season – giving rather than receiving!

2. The Namesake

Holidays in the Hill Country Johnson City


Johnson City was the hometown of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) and was established by James Polk Johnson, uncle to LBJ. Each year, on select days (this year’s dates are November 28th, December 5th, 12th and 19th) President Johnson’s childhood home is open for tours by lamplight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. allowing you to experience Christmas at the LBJ Boyhood Home, 1920’s Style. Rangers from the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park will provide the tours and explain what life was like in Johnson City prior to rural electrification.

Located on Elm Street, one block south of Highway 290 in Johnson City, the park event is complemented and at the same time beautifully contrasted by the Pedernales Electric Cooperative holiday lighting display, which is directly across the street. For more information, please call 830-868-7128, ext. 244.

3. The Traditions & Festivities

Holidays in the Hill Country Johnson City


Celebrating 26 years and counting, the 2015 Lights Spectacular – Hill Country Style, of Johnson City, shines like a beacon in the night! That’s because the more than one hundred thousand lights that glimmer on the Blanco County Courthouse, as the centerpiece of this attraction, are complemented by those on the many homes, businesses and churches that also join in the decorating extravaganza, totaling more than 1 million orbs of holiday opulence. In fact, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative headquarters alone has a display of 1 million lights!

Beginning Friday, November 27, 2015, “Let There be Lights” kicks off the season-long festivities in the Chuckwagon Food Court with Santa’s arrival in this tiny Texas town with huge Christmas spirit. Fireworks, hay rides (weather permitting), carriage jaunts, music, ornament and craft sales deck the streets of town, where the spirit of the season is so tangible, you’ll think you stepped into a Bing Crosby film. Lights Spectacular stays lit until January 1, 2016 so there’s no excuse to miss it. It’s guaranteed to be an illuminating experience!

For more information on this or other events, you’re invited to contact the Johnson City Visitors Bureau via, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 830-868-7684. Happy holidays from Johnson City!