This is my favorite time of year … waiting and anticipating the first cold snap of the season … when the air turns crisp, leaves begin to float gracefully to the ground, coffee tastes better and animals and children alike seem to get a boost of extra playfulness. It’s magical.
Sounds a bit like the opening of a Hallmark movie, but … it is real. Brenham and Washington County can’t be replicated. This is true Texas. Unapologetically Americana. Authentic.
Fall wouldn’t be complete in Brenham without candy-littered streets from the annual homecoming parade, including of course, homecoming queen hopefuls waving from convertibles. It doesn’t get much more Americana than this, right?
October boasts creatively dressed scarecrows posed in front of Downtown Brenham shops. Each one lovingly put together by dozens of schoolchildren and individuals alike, who have put their hearts into these straw creations, in hopes of winning one of the many prizes. Local spirit and pride are reflected in each entry.
Our community of Chappell Hill, located just 15 minutes east of Brenham, throws its annual Scarecrow Festival. This popular event draws huge crowds to its tiny town to shop, eat and welcome the season with a smile. Tent-lined streets are full of holiday shoppers, happy to escape big city mass merchandise to enjoy unique street vendors and small-town life.
November continues the holiday spirit with Christmas at the Mansion, a home tour and Christmas fair held at Brenham’s beautiful Giddings Stone Mansion. The mansion’s exterior and eight rooms will feature different holiday themes, designed and decorated by Jennifer Hermann of Hermann Furniture. There is inspiration at every turn. Self-guided tours are available all weekend and even two separate seatings for a special lunch on Saturday (reservations required).
Antique Rose Emporium’s 32nd Annual Fall Festival of Roses is a favorite outdoor experience in November. Breathing in the cool rose scented air while taking in spectacular blooms and learning how to care for them is a unique seasonal event not to be missed.
And, what we’ve all been looking forward to all year long … the Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade in Downtown Brenham … an event that will melt the heart of even the worst Scrooge. Downtown Brenham comes to life with residents and visitors mingling on the streets and throughout the shops. No crowded malls here, just a hometown atmosphere of genuine Christmas spirit. Brenham’s Downtown shopkeepers dazzle and surprise unsuspecting visitors with unique finds. Inside some of the antique architecture, new hip ventures are alive and well and waiting to be discovered.
The Stroll is kicked off with the tree lighting ceremony where onlookers are serenaded by a Girl Scout choir singing carols. As night continues to fall, the parade begins. Beautifully decorated and fully lit floats, marching bands, horses and dancers parade through Downtown, all to the delight of friends, family and visitors. And of course, the man of the hour SANTA makes his grand entrance to the squeals of excited children lining the streets, frantically waving to him as he passes by, perched atop a Fire Truck.
People passing, children laughing, meeting smile after smile … doesn’t just happen in a song or a Hallmark movie. It’s in Brenham, Texas and Washington County … where It’s a Wonderful Life!
Sorry, couldn’t help myself!
Photos by: Natalie Lange
One thought on “Finding Holiday Magic in Brenham & Washington County”
I was born a long, long time ago in Hempstead, Tx. My family lived in Hempstead until I was in the 3rd grade (for time reference, only) at which time we moved to Eagle Lake, Tx. I don’t remember anything about Brenham from that time frame, indeed, if I was even ever in Brenham. But, since that time I have developed a keen interest in Brenham and it’s surroundings. Probably somewhat caused by having been born so near there. Of this though, I am certain; my connection was piqued to a great extent by the “Good Ole’ Cheerful, Down Home Folks” that have lived there before and during my lifetime. Especially you “Git ‘er done” community leaders and you “Over achieving” people in the educational system. All are first rate by reputation and first rate by performance – the latter causing the former I would surmise. Glad to see a place in our socially troubled/retarded Country that is having so much FUN! You are to be congratulated and even envied, but I do have one question. Unless in my haste I missed it, there was no mention of one of your greatest LANDMARKS – being, Blue Bell (“I eat what I can and sell the rest”) Ice Cream. To omit such an iconic treasure could mean that you Guys are having TOO MUCH fun. Wishing all of you good folks over there in the Washington County region a Blessed Thanksgiving and a Loving and Meaningful Christmas. Put me on the envious list, but keep on keeping on. Wayne Brasher (aka UncKel RedNeck over here East of ya’. Born in Hempstead, raised in Eagle Lake, now in Silsbee: it’s all
good ’cause it’s all IN TEXAS.)