WASHINGTON, Texas — The historic Christmas traditions of Texas in the 1860s will transport visitors to a much simpler time at a day-long Christmas on the Brazos celebration at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14.
Free or low-cost holiday activities for all ages include period music, craft making, readings, food samplings and sale of artisan gifts, culminating in the park’s popular Candlelight Christmas event that features early Texas vignettes of frontier life in the decade before the Civil War. Visitors can enjoy music, musket firing dancing and a candlelit tour of Barrington Living History Farm.
Candlelight Christmas at the Barrington Farm offers guests a peek into the 1850s and fills their senses with the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear against the backdrop of a star-filled sky. Experience smoke and flames from the wood fireplace and bonfire in the field; flickering lanterns and candlelit paths; and gunfire and cheers from a rowdy band of early Texas revelers. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the historic home of the Republic of Texas’ last president, Dr. Anson Jones, as re-enactors recreate how that family would have enjoyed Christmas, including an appearance by a Santa Claus portraying a bygone era. The slave quarters also will be decorated in 1860s style. The tour culminates in a barn dance where visitors are welcome to join in.
The Candlelight Christmas evening event consists of one-hour guided tours for small groups beginning on the hour beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online by visiting Barrington.Farm@tpwd.texas.gov or by calling (936) 878-2214, extension 246. In addition to the standard entry fee, a $2 per person for those 3 years and older will be charged.
Among the many holiday activities occurring throughout the day will be:
- Besides its regular tours, Independence Hall will host 19th century readings of popular Christmas literature will be at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (fees apply)
- The Star of the Republic Museum will host “make-and-take” period crafts in its Discovery Room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (regular entrance fees; no extra charge for the crafts)
- The historic site’s Visitor Center will offer music, merchandise made by Texas artisans, samplings of local Texas fare. In a nod to the 21st century, a Christmas tree and Santa Claus will be there for photos (all free)
- Barrington Living History Farm will be open for its regular tours from noon until 4 p.m. and then will close for one hour to prepare for its Candlelight Christmas event that starts at 5 p.m.
- Visitors are welcome to bring food and drink onto the park but no glass bottles or alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located off Highway 105 between Navasota and Brenham on FM 1155. Leashed pets are allowed in park, but are not allowed onto the farm site or inside buildings. Sites are accessible for the mobility impaired. For additional details, call (936) 878-2214, extension 246.