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River Parade, Holiday Musical And Music To Move By: Your Weekend Is Here

Jack Morgan
Arneson River Theatre

Enjoy a holiday river parade under world famous lights. Watch a memorable musical about elves. And then groove to music that may defy easy definition. The extended holiday is here! 

First off, it's the proverbial most wonderful time of the year, and Maggie Thompson said the River Walk is the most wonderful place to experience it. 

"It's such a beautiful place," she said.

Thompson is the director of the San Antonio River Walk Association. And this Friday, those world famous lights come on.

"We officially turn them on the day after Thanksgiving as we start the Holiday parade," she said.

And before you ask when they get turned off, here's your answer:

"...And they're on through January 13. They start at dusk and stay on all night 'til dawn," she said.

As to the Ford Holiday River Parade, she said it'll be epic.

"I think it's almost historic. It's our 39th,” Thompson said. “Our Grand Marshal is Billy F. Gibbons, who's the lead singer for ZZ Top, and he's very gracious and excited about being the Grand Marshal. And the theme is the Texas Music Christmas."

Credit Jack Morgan
Krayolas playing the River Parade

Twenty-six of the 29 decorated floats will have musicians making music.

"We've got Flaco Jimenez, Tish Hinojosa, Patsy Torres, Shelly Lares, Augie Meyer, Jimmie Vaughan, Van Wilks ... oh my gosh, it goes on and on and on ... Al Gomez, Albert Garcia ...we have the Krayolas, yes absolutely."

Seats to watch the parade are still for sale through the River Walk Association, but there's also this. 

"We have about six blocks of free access that line the River Walk," said Thompson.  

That means you can also see it for free, if you wish.

IF YOU GO What: Ford Holiday River Parade Where: The River Walk downtown When: 6 p.m. Friday Cost:  free-$45

Credit Siggi Ragnar
James Welch as Buddy the Elf

Then, all weekend long at the Public Theatre, it's Elf The Musical. Chief of Staff Courtnie Mercer  says it's a crowd-pleaser.

"It's so much fun! It really follows the storyline of the movie, and it's the perfect musical for anyone to come and see," she said.

While it closely resembles the movie, there is a lot of music.

"There's 11 big dance numbers in the show. It's a very old Broadway type feel when it comes to the music, but it's a great holiday show," she said.

"James Welch plays Buddy the Elf. His comedic timing is fantastic; his dancing is great,” Mercer said. “And he just really portrays Buddy the Elf in his own way. He's made it completely his own."

Besides this weekend, Elf has a longer run, so you should be able to catch it.

Elf The Musical runs through Dec. 22 at the Russell Hill Rogers auditorium and tickets are on sale now.  

IF YOU GO What: Elf The Musical Where: The Public Theatre When: Friday-Sunday through Dec. 22 Cost:  $20-$40

Then on Saturday night at The Cove: Los Nahualatos. Joaquin Muerte said the origin of the name goes back to the Aztec language Nahua spoken at the time of the Spanish invasion of Mexico.

Credit T & V photography
Los Nahualatos

"The Aztec people — they had to have somebody to translate to Spanish and Nahua into Spanish,” he said. “And so they would get the indigenous folks to learn Spanish and be able to compare to their Nahua language. And so they become Los Nahualatos."

Muerte thinks their music almost defies definition. 

“It's really hard to describe because we do a lot of everything but we've kinda chalked it up to Chicano Roots Fusion.”

To achieve that big and rhythmic a sound, it takes a lot of moving parts. 

“Currently we have eight members, which includes the core: guitar, bass, drums, and accordion, which is our centerpiece,” Muerte said. “And then we have three horns: trombone, trumpet, and saxophone. And then we have a percussionist/rapper.”

Credit T & V photography
Los Nahualatos

At their performance at The Cove, they want to get you to move.

“We still believe in bringing joy and having a good dance,” he said. 

And that's something we can be thankful for.  

IF YOU GO What: Los Nahualatos Where: The Cove restaurant When: 8 p.m. Saturday Cost:  free

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii