- December 8, 2016

Weekend Top 10 FREE Events: December 9-11, 2016


Holiday movies on the lawn, an art car derby, art fairs, and opening weekend of the Trail of Lights – it’s going to be another fun weekend in Austin!


Photo by Sarah Siller Photography

A special thanks to Cherrywood Art Fair for sponsoring the Weekend Top 10! Fun for the entire family, Cherrywood Art Fair returns to Maplewood Elementary for its 15th year, this Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Featuring more than 85 local artists and makers, the event benefits local nonprofit Chula League and the Little Artist Big Artist Program. Cherrywood Art Fair also features food vendors, children’s activities, and live music. Make plans to stop by and find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Cherrywood Art Fair

Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:

  1. Live Nativity and Blessing of the Animals – Friday and Saturday from 6-8:00 p.m. Experience the Christmas story portrayed by Bethany families and live animals. Families are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on in the grass to witness the Christmas Story first hand. There will be a petting zoo for children to pet, hold, and feed the animals. Families are also invited to bring pets (leashed or in carrier) to receive a blessing. FREE but please bring a non-perishable food or toiletry item for Hill Country Community Ministries. Bethany United Methodist Church, 10010 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin.
  2. Trail of Life – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7-9:00 p.m. Take a hayride through a beautifully lit, live reenactment of several important scenes from the life of Christ, starting in Bethlehem. Hayrides begin every 20-30 minutes. All ages, denominations, and nationalities welcome. FREE! Texas Oaks Baptist Church, 9910 Bilbrook Pl, Austin.
  3. Family Day: A-Nick-Nick-Nick-Nick-N-Nick Nick Nick… Nickelodeon ShowSaturday from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. Mondo Gallery’s final show of 2016 celebrates iconic Nickelodeon properties including gorgeous prints for The Ren & Stimpy Show, SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and Avatar.  This special family day event will feature a Slime Building Workshop with Mad Science of Austin, face painting, photo booth, coffee and donuts, and more. FREE but attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unopened and unwrapped toy (suggested retail price of $10 – $25) to donate. Mondo Gallery, 4115 Guadalupe St, Austin.
  4. Winter Fest – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Winter Fest is a celebration of the season with events for visitors of all ages. The fun will include face-painting, craft activities, used book sale, string quartet performance, refreshments, free eco-wrap station, presentations from local non-profits, and poetry. FREE! APL – Yarborough Branch, 2200 Hancock Dr, Austin.
  5. Second Saturdays: Art Car Derby (RSVP) – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Race over to this auto-themed event. Build an artistic model car with a little help from The Contemporary’s experts, then see how fast it can go on the test track. Find the car sculpture hidden in the forest, then check out a selection of wild art cars parked around the grounds for the day. FREE with RSVP. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin.
  6. Literature Live! Presents The Nutcracker – Saturday at 2:00 p.m. This classic, charming tale of holiday adventure follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, and an army of mice. Enhanced by Tchaikovsky’s much-loved score, Literature Live! brings the story to life with puppets. Recommended for ages 5 and up. FREE! APL – Pleasant Hill Branch, 211 E William Cannon Dr, Austin.
  7. Movies on The Lawn: The Polar Express – Saturday from 4-8:00 p.m. Enjoy hot cocoa, s’mores, and a reading of the book before the movie screening begins at 5:30 p.m. Bring your folding camp chairs or blankets to get the best seat. FREE but donations of new and gently used books for BookSpring are encouraged. The Arboretum at Great Hills, 10000 Research Blvd, Austin.
  8. Community First! Village of Lights – Saturday from 5-9:00 p.m. With more than 170,000 lights choreographed to holiday music, the Community First! Village of Lights will be one of the biggest Christmas light displays in Central Texas. Purchase unique, handcrafted gifts at the Advent Market and help homeless and formerly homeless craftsmen and artisans earn a dignified income. Bring your camera to take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. A screening of Elf will begin at 7:00 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase (cash only). Please also help decorate by bringing a shatter-proof ornament to hang on the 20 foot Christmas tree. FREE! Community First! Village, 9301 Hog Eye Rd, Austin.
  9. Austin Trail of Lights – Saturday and Sunday from 7-10:00 p.m. What has more than two millions light bulbs, takes 15,000 man hours to assemble, and was visited by approximately 400,000 people last year? It’s the Trail of Lights–a community wide celebration of the holiday season that’s been delighting Austinites for 52 years. The Trail is FREE nightly through Friday, December 16. Please view parking and shuttle information before heading out. You can also read our guide to Navigating the Austin Trail of Lights. Zilker Park, Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
  10. Mexic-Arte Museum Family Day – Sunday from 1-4:00 p.m. In conjunction with Mexic-Arte’s holiday Nacimientos exhibit in the annex gallery, the Education Department will host a holiday-themed Family Day. Projects are inspired by holiday folk art traditions in Mexico and the U.S., and will include hand-printing wrapping paper, screen printing holiday cards, and folding decorative paper ornaments. All ages welcome. FREE! Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave, Austin.


Bonus Shopportunities:

  • Blue Genie Art Bazaar – FridaySaturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. This annual 4-week holiday shopping event features handmade artwork, jewelry and gifts from more than 200 regional artists. In addition to shopping, there will be special events and activities throughout the show. Celebrating 16 years in Austin, BGAB is a family-friendly experience where shoppers can browse in a hassle-free environment with centralized checkout. Refreshments and bar available. Parking and admission are FREE! Blue Genie Art Bazaar, 6100 Airport Blvd, Austin.
  • Cherrywood Art Fair – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Fun for the entire family, Cherrywood Art Fair returns for its 15th year. Featuring more than 85 local artists and makers with perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. The event benefits local nonprofit Chula League and the Little Artist Big Artist Program. The event will also feature food vendors, children’s activities, and live music. Admission is FREE! Maplewood Elementary, 3808 Maplewood Ave, Austin.

More Events Beyond Austin:

  • Holiday Model Train Show (Round Rock) – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5:00 p.m. The Tinplate Trackers will be back at ArtSpace for their 4th annual Holiday Model Train show. The trains will be running Wednesday through Sunday each week. FREE! ArtSpace, 231 E Main St, Round Rock.
  • Buda Trail of Lights (Buda)Friday and Saturday from 6-10:00 p.m.Admission is FREE, including the shuttles that transport you from the Cabela’s parking lot to the front of the trail. Read about Heather’s experience here. Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda.
  • Christmas Nativity Open House (Pflugerville) – Friday and Saturday from 6-9:00 p.m. This celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ will include a live outdoor nativity scene (performed every half hour), hundreds of nativity displays from around the world, and special musical selections that will be performed between 7-8:00 p.m. Light refreshments will also be provided. FREE! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, 700 N Heatherwilde Blvd, Pflugerville.
  • Tree Lighting & Santa’s Workshop (Cedar Park) – Friday from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Enjoy the lighting of the tree, live music, carriage rides, games and prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa (bring your own camera), arts and crafts projects, and the unveiling the Official Cedar Park Flag. Admission is FREE! Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Pkwy, Cedar Park.
  • Star Party (Cedar Park) – Friday at 8:00 p.m. Star gaze on a state-of-the art computer guided telescope. View through the telescope, take telescope assisted photos with your smartphone, and learn major stars and constellation positions along with the planets and moons. Learn how to read a star map, and much more. Weather permitting. FREE! Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220, Toro Grande Dr, Cedar Park.
  • Downtown Christmas Fair (Hutto) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Handmade arts and crafts vendors line the downtown streets with something for everyone on your list. Live entertainment is scheduled every hour and children’s activities will take place on the grassy area next to Henrietta the Hippo. There will even be snow and a snow slide with tubes in downtown for children of all ages to enjoy. Admission is FREE! The Children’s Area wristband will be $5 and includes all activities: snow, snow slide, bouncy houses, train, and games. Downtown Hutto.
  • Christmas Dreams and Snowy Things (Round Rock) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This FREE event includes real snow activities, giant slides, train rides, interactive holiday booths, live music, inflatables, rides, concessions, and an appearance by Santa Claus. Parking is in designated areas only. Shuttle services will be provided from the East/West Sports Fields Parking Lot, Texas Baptist Children’s Home, and Beauty College. Chasco Family YMCA, 1812 N Mays St, Round Rock.
  • An Afternoon with Santa (Pflugerville) – Saturday from 2-4:00 p.m. Spend an afternoon with Santa. Bring your own camera, take pictures, and work on holiday crafts together. All ages are welcome. Crafts available while supplies last. FREE! Pflugerville Public Library, 1008 W Pfluger St, Pflugerville.

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