Christmas Under the Stars is coming to Brownwood next week beginning with the annual Lighted Parade the night of Thursday, Dec. 5, and concluding with the festival the Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7.

Also on the night of Saturday, Dec. 7, Sipping Under the Stars will be held in downtown Brownwood, which will include wine and beer tasting and other beverages as stores stay open late.

The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce has presented Christmas Under the Stars since 2009, when the event was first held on a frigid weekend and drew about 300 participants. Now Christmas Under the Stars draws about 1,000 participants. This year’s event will be the 12th.

“It’s an opportunity for you family to create memories with each other, see the lights and get a sugar rush, and anticipate Santa wrapping up the Christmas parade,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sunni Modawell said.

“It’s a great way to kick off the Christmas season.”

The Lighted Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 and features 100 entries including classic cars, floats, marching bands and other vehicles, all decorated and lit.

The festival on Friday and Saturday is at the Depot Plaza and Lehnis Railroad Museum from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The festival includes the Treats for Santa baking competition, Big Wheel races and an inflatable obstacle course that is nearly 70 feet long.

There will also be artificial snow if it doesn’t rain, Modawell said. The snow will feel “real to the touch,” Modawell said. “And you’ll be able to make snow angels, probably make some small snowballs, have a little snowball fight.”

The ingredients for the artificial snow are coming from Dallas and will be mixed at the Depot — “secret family recipe,” Modawell said.

As in previous Christmas Under the Stars festivals, brownies , hot chocolate and other treats will be available and children will be able to build crosses and small trucks with the help of McCoy’s and Weakley-Watson employees, Modawell said. Repsentatives of nonprofit organizations will man Santa’s Workshop.

“You can decorate picture frames and they’ll have cookie decorating and different activities and crafts for the kids,” Modawell said.

Wagon rides will also be available.

“We knew it would be an activity everyone would enjoy, but we had no idea how much it would mean to the children and families of the area,” Modawell said, referring to the year Christmas Under the Stars began.

“Considering that the very first year it was frigidly cold, it was relatively successful. We had probably 300 people in attendance and here we are 11 years later, and attendance is usually over a thousand. Not too shabby for an eight-hour event total.”

train museum will have mini train rides

For Sipping Under the Stars, tasting tickets for the event are $20 per person, and include 10 tasting tickets, a commemorative wine glass, wine tote bag, map of participating merchants and e offers from downtown merchants.

Check-in for Sipping Under the Stars begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Brownwood Music, 201 W. Baker. Parking is available in the Landmark Life Building Parking Lot (formerly the Bank of America Building).

Spirit of Texas Winery, Rancho Loma Vineyards, Cockrell Vineyards, Blue Duck Winery, and Lucky Vines Vineyard and Winery will be set up inside downtown merchant buildings. Each winery will have tastings, plus their signature wines for sale by the glass or bottle.

Enjoy tastings or purchase by the glass or flight selections from Teddy’s Brewhaus and Pioneer Tap House. A Christmas concert featuring live music will be held at Pat Coursey Park during the event. 

For more information go to www.visitbrownwood.com/sipping. Tickets are available at Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce or online through  www.sipping.eventbrite.com