His mighty cheapness continues to stroll around Texas:

It’s Christmas time and the Low Budget  Review Guy has been making the rounds to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season!  One of the enjoyable things I like to do this time of year is hit some of the Christmas activities in the smaller Texas towns.  To see the streets and shops decorated, the beautiful old homes with garland and wreaths on the door, always brings back warm memories of Christmas from when I was a little Low Budget Review kid.

The first event was the annual Georgetown Christmas Stroll.  Set in the scenic square surrounding the majestic late 1800’s Courthouse this is a fun experience we have made a family tradition for the well over a decade.  Arriving early enough to find a parking place is always a challenge, as the square and several city blocks surrounding the square are closed and barricade.  We find a spot a few blocks away and walk through the crisp December air, past beautifully restored historic homes, of which Georgetown has many.  Once arrived at the square, along with the open shops that offer  their usual well-appointed wares, we find  over a hundred vendors set up in their booths, selling crafts, food, toys, gifts, yard art, jewelry, soaps, sculptures, paintings and more.  The vendors are mostly from within a 100 mile radius.  The creativity and uniqueness of many of the items offered for sale have always delighted us and over the years has been a great place to find  different or unusual Christmas presents.  Branching out from the square are areas with food courts offering delicious  Turkey legs, kettle corn, hot chocolate, funnel cakes (were funnel cakes invented in Texas? If not, they should have been. The aroma, the sugar sprinkled not so lightly on top of the crisply fried dough, ahhhh, tasty and warming). Other areas right off the square are the children’s play area, called Who’s-ville (After a certain Dr. Suess and his Grinch) and an area similarly like little Bethlehem, where a church group has made a recreation of what a small village would have looked like at the time of the first Christmas.  There are potters making their hand-made wares, bakers with kiln’s, weavers making cloth, live animals hanging around and the occasional Roman Soldier keeping the peace. Well done.  The Georgetown square also has a large portable stage where live music is performed during the day.  Church Choirs, high school bands, and other performers provide joyous sounds to accompany the events.  Late afternoon comes the  Christmas parade.  This is a wonderful old-fashioned small town (though G’Town is really not that small anymore, it still has very much a small-town feel, In a good way) parade. With floats and marching bands and the boy scout troops,  girl scouts, church and civic  groups.  Over the years one of the crowd favorites has been a performance by residents of a retirement community from the area.  These not-so-serious seniors perform a drill routine using aluminum lawn chairs as their props.  Precise, well-done….and hilarious!  And of course, at the end of the parade, Santa Claus.   Ah, another satisfying Georgetown Christmas Stroll.

Our second Christmas Stroll takes us to the Village of Salado.  This small town, founded in 1859, is located between Waco and Austin.   Salado is a vibrant community famous for artwork and couture.  Among the many shops are fine art galleries, clothing stores, pottery, furniture, antiques, wine, and many others.  It is also home to the famous Stagecoach Inn, which was indeed a stop for the overland stagecoach during the early days of Texas history.  Some of the more famous guests of the Inn have included Sam Houston, George Custer and Robert E. Lee.   Salado has several outstanding restaurants in addition to The Inn, and nearby the creek has a active spring bubbling to the surface. Some times of the year it resembles champagne overflowing the bottle after the cork has been pulled.  The Salado Christmas stroll is a wonderful event where the businesses stay open later, the shops and homes are decorated for the season and warm lights beckon in the windows.   Choirs, musical groups, and solo performers are stationed outside in several places throughout town, so shoppers are never far from live music, performing both seasonal selections as well as others.  A horse drawn carriage, outlined inwhite Christmas lights ambles gently past, bells jingling brightly, transporting its passengers past the historic buildings and crowds and giving a glimpse into the not-so-distant past, when everyone traveled by horse.  This year I was delighted to see that one of my favorite local bands was performing.  Their songs, mostly “Golden Oldies” with a mix of Christmas tunes and originals, added to the festive air.  Nearby were food vendors with delicious hamburgers, unusual-looking potatoes (think of a cross between potato chips and French fries),and BBQ.  For great small-town ambiance with unusual shopping, music and food, The Salado Christmas Stroll is a great Christmas Time event well worth the time.  Parking is available, though scattered throughout the Village.

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