The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips

By Gerald E. McLeod, November 29, 2013, Columns

Lights Spectacular in Johnson City lives up to its name. Thousands of white lights illuminate the historic courthouse in a warm glow. A few blocks south of the courthouse on Avenue F, the trees surrounding the Pedernales Electric Cooperative headquarters are wrapped with white lights on the trunks and twinkling stars in the branches.

It's a winter wonderland of lights and fun that takes weeks to put together. Rhonda Stell, city councilwoman and a volunteer hanging the lights from the roof of the Blanco County Courthouse, says all of the work is done by volunteers. "It takes us three to four days to get all 100,000 of the lights hung and the decorations put out," she says.

The PEC hires a contractor to put a million lights on their trees and it takes the crew nearly two weeks. The result is a dizzying display in an enchanting forest.

You can be sure that it will all be done in time for the fireworks show and the official flip of the switch on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Then the lights glow nightly through New Year's Day. On weekend evenings there will be carriage and hayrides around town to see the displays of lights.

For a complete list of events in Johnson City during the holiday season, go to

For a map to nine other Hill Country communities decorating their town in Christmas lights, go to

1,165th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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