Denton doesn’t skimp when it comes to festivals and celebrations, and the winter holidays are no exception. From live entertainment to refreshments, shopping and more, there’s something fun and festive for every member of the family. Read on for a comprehensive checklist of holiday activities for grown-ups and kids alike.
Holiday Open House – Nov. 16-17
The Holiday Open House began as an easy way for local retailers to team up and promote their holiday merchandise. Shops offer extended store hours and refreshments to customers on the hunt for gifts and seasonal decor. More than 35 stores and restaurants participate annually in Denton’s start to the holiday shopping season, which can be found listed on dentonmainstreet.org.
What to Expect: Participating merchants offer various promotions, food and drink tastings, special sales, and more. Shoppers can pick up “shopping passports” and collect stamps from participating businesses for a chance to win a gift card package from various downtown shops.
Denton Holiday Lighting Festival – Dec. 6
The official kick-off to the holiday season falls a week after Thanksgiving in a fun and exciting tradition that Dentonites enjoy every year. With Denton musicians performing classic holiday tunes to a teaser of the Festival Ballet of North Texas’ performance of “The Nutcracker”, this festival doesn’t just involve lighting the tree. According to Michelle Boerst, festival committee chair, this year’s fête will break new ground by moving beyond the square.
“This year we are in the great position of needing more room,” Boerst says. “We will be expanding our footprint beyond the actual square and adding more vendors and performers.”
In addition to the lighting of the tree, the festival association works closely with Elves Shelves, an outreach program through First Denton Baptist, to gather toys for families in need throughout the season.
What to Expect: The Holiday Lighting Festival features live performances from local schools, bands, and musicians. Kids can make a craft at the Greater Denton Arts Council’s Kids Booth, enjoy face painting and ornament decorating, and visit First United Methodist Church’s petting zoo. See schedule of events at dentonholidaylighting.com.
Wassail Weekend – Dec. 6-7
Ahh, Wassail: the classic hot mulled cider that tastes like Christmas in a cup. Dentonites have been enjoying community-made Wassail for years; in fact, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Denton’s Wassail Weekend. Wassail Weekend always coincides with the Holiday Lighting Festival, adding a warm and refreshing dose of hot cider to the lighting festivities.
Denton Main Street Association event and marketing coordinator Christine Gossett adds that cider tasters can even cast a ballot for their favorite batch, adding to the fun. Participating businesses “enjoy competing for the bragging rights…and serving the public’s favorite Wassail!”
What to Expect: Wassail Weekend is free and open to adults and kids alike. Attendees enjoy the opening of the season, sip and savor around the Square, then vote online on social media. Missed wassail on Friday night? Many participants will still be serving on Saturday! Full instructions on voting for Denton’s Wassail Royalty will be available on dentonmainstreet.org.