Dallas Holiday Home Decorations

The Holiday Season is a beautiful time of year in the Dallas Metroplex, even though the ground isn’t always blanketed in snow. The unpredictable Texas winter weather brings good tidings displayed in the season’s jubilant decorations adorning the homes new and old from north Dallas to Fort Worth; and from Sunnyvale to to Corsicana. The lackluster economy can’t stop the Christmas sparkle. If you’re looking to see Christmas lights in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, you can still find holiday decor from the festive to funky, from traditional to the avante-guarde in neighborhoods throughout DFW.

Dallas, Texas Holiday Lights

Few places offer the nostalgia of Highland Park in the wintertime, especially during the Christmas Season. Homes in this area compete for attention with twinkling lights, classy wreaths and sneak peaks into living rooms adorned with every Christmas decoration imaginable. The area is brimming with old-timey homes built in the early 1900s, harkening to the simplicity of days long past. Stop off at Highland Park Village for a Mocha Latte to enjoy as you drive through the gorgeous neighborhoods in University Park, Highland Park and the Park Cities.

Kessler Park Christmas Lights Display

The Kessler Park neighborhood in north Oak Cliff overlooking the Downtown Dallas skyline and in the shadows of Methodist Central Hospital, will once again be displaying thousands of lights on the traffic islands of this beautiful community and complimented with dozens of homes being decorated in colorful displays. Details about this historical neighborhood and location can be found at kesslerpark.org/holidaylights.htm

Arlington, Texas Holiday Lights

One Arlington neighborhood, Interlochen, offers a spectacular neighborhood lighting display that attracts tourists from nearby cities. The homes of Interlochen are older, and set upon the largest hills in DFW, and make for a brilliant display. The area is so packed that roads are closed and residents receive entry-passes to get past the throngs of those seeking to partake in the area’s holiday spirit.

Fair Park Holiday Lights Display in Dallas, Texas

With free admission and free parking, the family-friendly event anticipates more than 60,000 visitors. Fair Park Holiday Lights will offer holiday foods, entertainment, music, lights, horse-drawn carriages, hay rides, a Yule log, kids crafts, games and activities … and more – including a first-time pajama holiday movie party outdoors in The Cotton Bowl!

Farmers Branch Holiday Lights

Farmers Branch brings in the yuletide cheer with a tree light display of over 300,000 lights during the Farmers Branch Holiday Tour of Lights. The Holiday Tour now continues each night, from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. through New Year’s Eve. Admission to the Historical Park portion is free with donations accepted by the non-profit organizations assisting with the display. The Historical Park portion is closed on Mondays and on Christmas Day. For more information, call (972) 919-2620 or visit ci.farmers-branch.tx.us

Frisco, Texas Holiday Lights

If you’re coming to the Frisco area for Christmas, don’t miss “Frisco in the Square” which is the a spectacular holiday light display across Main Street that’s synchronized to music. It’s the largest light display of it’s kind. While you’re here, visit some of the awesome neighborhood light displays.

Over 90% of the homes in Frisco are brand-spanking new, and many are adorned with delightful rows of twinkling lights. Street vendors on Preston Road are hawking flat wooden Christmas characters, as well as “Happy Holidays” signs strung with white lights. At least one such displays can be seen on every street in the city. Another popular item for Frisco residents are the new blow-up yard decorations that stay afloat with hot-air. And nothing says Christmas like a house with candles and wreaths on every window. If the new homes of Frisco were beautiful before, now they’re striking.

Richardson Texas Christmas Light Displays

Some Richardson residents call it Lollipop Lane. It looks more like Gumdrop Gardens. You’ll find colorful squares of light resembling giant gumdrops dotting the landscape of several homes on Opal and Kirby lanes in Richardson, Texas. Giant lollipops and candy canes get your tummy ready for Christmas sweets. Several other streets in the neighborhood, to the south and east of the intersection of Floyd and West Arapaho roads, have some fun displays. Light display is on Opal Lane is off Floyd Road, one block south of West Arapaho Road.

Plano Texas Holiday Lights

Not to be outdone, Plano has a very splashy display of Christmas lights at its very own Deerfield Neighborhood, sponsored by the Deerfield Neighborhood Association. Drive by slowly and make this wonderful holiday light display part of your family tradition. Learn more at Deerfieldplano.org

Waxahachie Texas Christmas Lights

Waxahachie’s Downtown Victorian Christmas starts Dec. 5 and runs through the end of the month. Events include a Victorian Christmas Festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 and noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 at the Ellis County Courthouse Square. Central Presbyterian Church, at 402 N. College St., presents Bethlehem Revisited from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 5-7 and Dec. 12-14. A candlelight Christmas Home Tour will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 12-14. Enchanted Pines, an outdoor ice-skating rink at South Rogers and Madison streets, opens Dec. 5 and will be open Fridays to Sundays through Dec. 28. Details: WaxahachieChamber.com.

Lahaina – a Blend of Old and New on Maui

In 1843, Hawaiian King Kamehameha the Great declared Lahaina, Maui the capital of the kingdom. Lahaina was once known as the whaling capital of the world. The waning whale industry and the move of the capital from Maui to Oahu caused the local economy to become dependent first on agriculture and later on tourism.

Lahaina offers visitors to Maui a unique glimpse into the past while enjoying what Maui has to offer today. Visitors are enticed to walk, shop, eat and enjoy. Spending the day in Lahaina is a must-do on any visit to Maui.

The Old Courthouse was built in 1859. Visitors may walk through this historic building and view exhibits from top Maui artists presented by the Lahaina Art Society. The lower level galleries still feature windows with the bars that held Maui prisoners in days past. Informational brochures about other historic sites in this Maui village are available here as well.

The Courthouse Square is home to what is, perhaps, the most memorable tree on Maui. The Banyan Tree, planted in 1873, has aerial roots that have grown into twelve major trunks. What appears at first glance to be a small forest is actually all part of one tree. The tree provides nearly an acre of shade in the square and is a popular meeting place among Maui tourists. While in the Courthouse Square, take a moment to find the restored ruins of the original Maui waterfront fort built in the 1830s.

The streets of Lahaina are lined with small shops and restaurants catering to Maui visitors. At the quieter southern end of Lahaina is an oceanfront boutique mall (505 Front Street). Stores feature made-on-Maui products, Maui souvenirs and gifts.

There are several waterfront restaurants in this area and live music is available on weekend evenings for Maui tourists to enjoy. The Lahaina Center (900 Front Street) features 30 stores and restaurants offering apparel, jewelry and microbrews. A stroll along the streets of Lahaina will fulfill the shopping needs of any Maui visitor.

Maui visitors looking for a party atmosphere at night will find it here so a well-planned day visit can turn into a night full of fun.

Lahaina offers great night life and plenty of fun but it lacks the features that make accommodations on Maui special. It is missing the clean beaches and slow pace the makes a Maui vacation special. A limited amount of lodging is available in Lahaina but most area accommodations are north of Lahaina. Lahaina is a great place to visit on Maui but not to stay.

Visitors looking for water activities to enjoy on Maui will find themselves drawn to the offerings at Lahaina. Vendors at the harbor offer day and evening cruises, submarine rides and other boating activities that provide a water-based view of Maui.

Visitors to Maui rely mostly on rental cars for transportation. Because Lahaina is a popular destination greater crowds are found here than at any other location on Maui. As a result parking can sometimes be a bit difficult. Plan arrival for before 10 a.m. and parking should not be a problem.

Lahaina offers Maui visitors a special mixture of old and new that is not to be missed.

The Chicago Beer Riot

In the mid 1800s, America had many worries, not only were the southern states threatening secession but there were very severe strains between more recently arrived German and Irish immigrants an those whose parents and grandparents immigrated from Europe earlier. Those who most feared that the country was being taken over by so many immigrants gravitated towards to a group that called itself the “American Party”. In time they became known by the name “Know-nothings” because of the semi secret organization of the party. If a member was asked about their activities by an outsider they were supposed to reply with the phrase “I know nothing”.

By 1855 Chicago had become a hotbed of tension between the immigrant groups and the party. That year Levi Boone was elected Mayor running on an anti-immigrant platform. Mayor Boone was a moralist, if not technically a “know-nothing” and he was outraged by the pleasure that the Irish and Germans found in drinking beer and chose that drink to bring pressure on the immigrant communities. After Boone was elected, he first barred immigrants from any city job. Next, he increased the cost of a city issued liquor license by 2,400%, from $50 annually to $300 quarterly. Then he ordered that an old law be brought back, prohibiting sale of alcohol and beer on Sundays.

On the first Sunday that the newly reenacted law was in effect, the immigrants on Chicago’s north side went about their business as usual, gathering in their neighborhood taverns for the traditional Sunday afternoon beer. Suddenly, and without any warning, the Chicago police showed up, ordered all the taverns to be shut down and arrested more than two hundred people for drinking on Sunday. The magistrate on duty at the courthouse released those who had been arrested and set a hearing date for April 21, 1855.

When that day arrived, an unruly crowd of some 300 barkeepers marched towards Courthouse Square, shouting threats against the judge and being led by a traditional Yankee fife and drum. Chicago police stopped the crowd and moved them back to the north side and a clash was averted. But not for long! About three that afternoon the crowd returned. And again the police were prepared for their arrival. Their tactic this time was to allow about half the crowd to cross the Chicago River and then open the swing bridges which effectively cut the crowd in half as well as trapping some on the bridges themselves. This tactic, while effective, infuriated the protesters and very soon both sides were shooting at each other.

Immediately rumors began that some of the protesters had been killed but there is no historical evidence for this claim. The fact that the Mayor had ordered the cannon in the courthouse square be loaded in anticipation probably helped fuel the rumors. As night came on, tempers cooled off and the demonstration broke up, their point made. The next year, Levi Boone lost his bid for re-election and the prohibition against selling beer on Sundays was repealed.

And so ended the great “Lager Beer Riot”; the only time in U.S. history that drinkers have rioted in support of their favorite beverage.