Denton Holiday Lighting Festival
Capture the true spirit of a small-town holiday celebration at the annual Holiday Lighting Festival on Denton’s Historic Square.
HOW THE TRADITION BEGAN
The Denton Holiday Festival Association, Inc. (DHFA), established in 1988, is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. The organization’s primary mission is hosting the annual Holiday Lighting Festival.
This beloved community event, held on the second Friday following Thanksgiving, includes musical and dance presentations, horse drawn carriage rides, children’s crafts, and visits with Santa. Live entertainment is provided by talented local musicians and the Denton Community Band, which has been a part of the celebration since its inception.
Originally organized to raise funds to put lights in the trees on the Courthouse-on-the-Square lawn, the DHFA continues the tradition of the Holiday Lighting Festival by donations from the private sector and grants to purchase holiday street banners, rent stages and sound equipment, advertise and organize a wonderful local event full of arts and crafts, food, and music to benefit a toy drive benefiting Denton families.
- Photos with Santa ($7), Horse-drawn wagon rides ($5, under 2 free), and great food from local vendors are available for a small fee.
- Free parking is available at the MedPark Station with a free short A-train ride to Downtown Denton using the Secret Code “FOF Holiday Express” when asked by an operator to see your ticket! Click the Parking & Transportation drop-down menu for full details.
- Streets will close from 2-10 pm Friday directly around the Square. Those that do not move their car from these spots risk being towed.
- Disabled Parking is located on the west side of the Wells Fargo building on Locust Street.
- Lost children may be picked up at the Information Booth.
- Restrooms are located inside the Courthouse and Square restaurants.
- This is a litter-free event. Please do your part to Keep Denton Beautiful.
- Because of the size of the crowds and the amount of activity on the square, we highly recommend leaving your pets at home.
Once again, the festival will be hosting a toy drive. Toys gathered will be distributed to families needing assistance during the Christmas season in Denton County. Bring your toy to donate on the night of the Denton Holiday Lighting, or drop off prior to the event at First Baptist Denton located at 1100 Malone Street. Read more on this year’s Toy Drive.
What is Wassail? It is just a fussy Old English word for hot cider. Check out the delicious Wassail recipes at the participating merchant locations around the Square. Tasting begins Friday, December 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to the traditional Wassail Weekend tasting during the annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, the Denton Main Street Association (DMSA) will expand hours for its Wassail Weekend to include Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or until the Wassail runs out.
Friday night’s festivities will be the festival and tastings. Saturday will have some Wassail stops open, strolling musicians, and there will be some other activities that day with the Historic Homes Tour and some morning fun for the family at the Holiday Express Train, an event held by Denton County Friends of the Family.
See more details here.
Festival Stage, located on Hickory Street at the Square
- 5:30 – 6:20 Denton Community Band
- 6 pm Tree Lighting Ceremony
- 6:30 – 6:50 Ryan High School Jazz Band
- 7:00 – 7:20 Guyer High School Jazz Band
- 7:30 – 7:50 Festival Ballet of North Central Texas
Courtroom Stage, located inside the Courthouse-on-the-Square
- 6:30 – 6:50 Central Baptist Church Choir
- 7:00 – 7:20 St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Church Choir
- 7:30 – 7:50 Mariachi Los Broncos
Historic Park Stage, located at the corner of Carroll Blvd. and Mulberry Street
- 6:00 – 6:20 Selwyn Singers
- 6:30 – 6:50 Blanton Squire Choir
- 7:00 – 7:20 Order of the Ocarina, Blanton Elementary School
- 7:30 – 7:50 Cross Oaks Voices Choir
Dancing in the Streets, located on Oak Street at the Square
- 6:00 – 6:20 Cross Oaks Spirit Squad
- 6:30 – 6:50 Illuminate Creative Arts Studio Junior Company Dancers
- 7:00 – 7:20 Ryan High School Strutters
- 7:30 – 7:50 Odyssey Dance Collective
Performance Stage, located on Oak Street
- 8 pm “A Very Merry Denton” Holiday Spectacular, featuring Bonnie & Nick Norris, Bubba Turner, Paul Slavens, Jeffrey Barnes, Eric Pulido, Taste of Herb, Little Jack Melody, UNT Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, featured guests from the UNT Jazz Department, Bubba Hernandez and the Holiday Lighting Festival Orchestra!
UNT on the Square
- 6 – 8 UNT Tuba Euphonium Ensemble
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: For the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, the streets immediately surrounding the Square (Locust, Elm, Hickory and Oak) will be closed beginning at 2 pm for the duration of the festival. Plan your arrival accordingly with this map:
Free parking is available at the Historical Park Parking Lot as well a the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Parking Lot. Find maps and more on the Denton Holiday Lighting Web Site.
For those wanting to skip the hassle, park at the MedPark DCTA A-train station and ride into downtown for FREE! Rides from MedPark to the Downtown Denton Transit Center are always free with their fare-free zone. Coming from outside Denton? Use the secret code “FOF HOLIDAY EXPRESS” to ride DCTA’s A-train and Denton Connect Buses for free!
For more information and bus and train schedules and maps, visit ridedcta.net.