39th Annual Georgetown Christmas Stroll

Rain or shine!… the 39th Annual Christmas Stroll kicks off Friday, December 6, at 5:00pm with dessert with the Grinch, early shopping at more than 150 vendors, and a trip back to Bethlehem and a live nativity scene. On Saturday, the hometown holiday parade begins at 10am and activities continue until 8pm in and around the downtown Square. 

How It All Started

Decades ago, the Georgetown community literally strolled to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season. 

Nell Benold is the matriarch of one of Georgetown’s legacy families, and she shared her memories of the simplicity and sweetness of how it all began. “In the evening, on an early Friday in December, the choirs of all the main churches would gather at the corner of Austin Avenue and Route 29. The streets were not lit at the time, and as the singers strolled toward the Square, singing carols together, the lights would come on—one by one—to signify the light of Jesus coming into the world. It was a symbolic and beautiful community celebration.” 

 She says shop owners roasted chestnuts and had other treats on the sidewalks, and served hot cranberry juice and cider. 

“People milled around and enjoyed the candle-lit Christmas tree that was personally tended to on the south side. Georgetown was very small at that time, so everyone knew everyone else. It wasn’t at all glitzy like it is today, but the store owners did stay open to sell some things. Everyone chipped in and did a little bit. It was heartwarming.” 

Austin Avenue, 1984. Photo: City of Georgetown

A Growing City

Leo “Mr. Georgetown” Wood was the city manager from 1969 to 1985. He remembers how the stroll eventually grew into a parade with floats and Santa Claus, but still took place on Friday nights.  

In 1980, after population growth and renewal programs had sparked a rise in new businesses on the Square, the Downtown Merchants Association was founded, and the first official celebration took place. The first year featured residents in costume strolling around the Square, much like the church choirs had done in the past. As it grew, floats were added and Leo himself rode on one as City Manager, and later as Mayor. He says, “There was always apple cider available on the Square and a hayride for kids and families. The Stroll grew as Georgetown grew, and now it is one of our greatest annual attractions and brings people from all over Central Texas.” 

The parade was moved to Saturday mornings in the mid-2000s for safety reasons, and to make sure families could enjoy it without worrying about staying up late. 

Despite the change in the size and scale of our 2019 Stroll, much of that original charm is still present. The “Lighting of the Square” is a community celebration to mark the light coming into the world, and a live nativity details the story of Jesus’ birth. There will be plenty of treats and refreshments available for visitors and shoppers, and the community, however large, still comes together to see the parade of floats and a visit from Santa Claus. 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Starting at 5:00pm

  • Bethlehem Village
  • Early Shopping with 150+ Vendors
  • Downtown Restaurants & Bistro Food Court
  • Dessert with the Grinch

6:00pm

  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas  •  Free popcorn for the children (bring chairs and blankets) 
  • Live Entertainment on two stages

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 10:00AM – 8:00PM

  • Parade begins at 10:00am
  • Santa’s Village & Photo Opportunity begins at 11:30am
  • Shopping from 150+ Vendors
  • Downtown Restaurants & Bistro Food Court
  • Bethlehem Village
  • Winter Wonderland, Ice skating, Swing carousel, Candyland obstacle course, Home Depot Workshop
  • Live Entertainment on two stages
  • Whoo Hair Village

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