Thanksgiving Day in Houston
- SWATHI RAMASWAMY
- UPDATED Sep 21, 2018
- 4 Views
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated far and wide all across the United States of America, as well as in Canada and some other places as well. What originally begun as a celebration of the annual harvest in 1789, was later made into a federal holiday during the Civil War marked as a day to be ‘thankful’ for the Founding Fathers and all that the country has now. But all of that history is quite in the past now. The day signifies a big dinner with the traditional roast of turkey, drinks and football games followed by Black Friday shopping the next day.
Thanksgiving Day in Houston offers some wholesome options to enjoy with friends and family. The whole city stays in high spirits over all the lightings, decorations, buffet spreads and other festivities. Here is a list of things one must not miss while celebrating the Thanksgiving Day in Houston.
1. The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Thanksgiving Day Parade is the biggest gathering the day sees in Houston. Organized by the Mayor’s Office itself, the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is a part and parcel of Houston’s holiday season start-off. The first parade took place in 1949, with a Santa arriving at the Union Station riding his sleigh to the downtown Foley’s. In 2018, the parade turns 69 years old. The culture of Houston, Texas, and America as a whole is showcased by various performance groups marching down the street with tableaus and giant figures, from Lamar at Smith to Smith and Dallas. There is a huge and fun figure of a turkey sitting atop a tableau car which makes an appearance every year.
The parade no entry fee and the visitors can walk along the parade down the road. Seating tickets can be purchased from the official website of the Parade – the sale goes online in November. The Thanksgiving parade gets a Grand Marshall every year to kick off the festivities. In 2017, it was Houston resident Chandra Wilson of Grey’s Anatomy fame.
2. The Uptown Holiday Lighting
Americans love fireworks and all they need is an excuse of a celebration to gather and enjoy some. Houston people are no different. The Uptown Holiday Lighting is a traditional Thanksgiving event that has been one of the city’s favorite haunts for the night for around three decades now. As night falls on the Thanksgiving Day, Santa rolls into the Post Oak Boulevard to light up half a million lights in the uptown area. Around 80 to 100 trees in a line are decorated with shining lights as well as the surrounding buildings. People gather here to enjoy the lighting, click pictures and spend some time with family. It all ends with brilliant fireworks late at night. Because of extensive renovations going on in the Oak Boulevard, the event is postponed till 2019, but it is expected to be back with even more grandeur.
3. The Texas Renaissance Festival
Although not directly connected to Thanksgiving and an hour of drive away from Houston main city, the Renaissance festival of Texas is a grand affair and a great place to be during this weekend in November. The festival goes on for the entire months of October and November. Started in 1974, the festival features numerous plays, music and dancing, art and craft and trinket shops – all based on different themes of the medieval era. Celtic, Roman, German, barbarians to fantasy themes like fairies, pirates and mermaids – nothing goes missing. A visit to the festival means a quick transition to the 1700s with performances like jousting, free flying bird show and School of Sword. There are games and contests, as well as shopping huts selling items resembling those of the bygone era.
4. Magical Winter Lights at Gulf Greyhound Park
The Magical Winter Lights Show at Greyhound Park embraces the ethnical diversity that America is so well-known for and celebrates it with Thanksgiving Lightings. Moving over from the traditional patterns of lighting, over here visitors will find themes like Dinosaur Land which the kids will love, as well as Mystery of the East and Landmarks of the World – thus giving the celebrations a global vibe.
5. Four Seasons Holiday Tree Lighting and Thanksgiving Brunch
For those who love their Thanksgiving to be a little bit more posh and sophisticated than enjoying lights out on the street, Four Seasons always have some celebration or the other for the night. The luxurious hotel downtown started its lighting ceremony from 5 PM in 2017 on the evening before. The event featured live music and entertainment along with complimentary cookies, hot cocoa and champagne. Boarders are eligible for a free valet parking as well. On the Thanksgiving Day, there is a good old spread of holiday brunch with turkey and other special dishes, alongside a choice of wine.
6. Houston BakerRipley Turkey Trot
The Turkey Trot is a quite different take on Thanksgiving activities, but if you are really thankful for what you have and want to give back to the community, you might want to try this. It is an annual marathon race, but the competition is hardly the point here. The registration fees proceeds are used for community centers, charter schools, Headstart programs, senior services and career centers by the organization BakerRipley. The charity has served those in need in the Houston area for over a century. It is a great opportunity for the runners to gather together and have a fun day of running, as well as contribute something for the betterment of the society.
7. Thanksgiving with Santa – Children’s Museum of Houston
In 2018, the Children’s Museum of Houston will be hosting its 12th annual Thanksgiving with Santa event. There is a plethora of events for the children and their parents to enjoy on the day together, and have a great day of fun. There are dance shows, fun activities and a chance to meet Santa and click pictures with him. The 2018 event will be having Elves on the Shelves put up in the Brown Auditorium, Santa Meet and Greet and Thanksgiving Vest and Pennant Flag.
There is no dearth of activities to do and places to be in Houston on the night of Thanksgiving. This is only but a brief list of all the things on offer. With a celebratory spirit and so many opportunities in hand, the kickstart to the yuletide season in Houston will not be a boring one.