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Major Christmas light displays around San Antonio within a one-day road trip

Brian Kirkpatrick
Historical church in Fredericksburg lit for the holidays

The Alamo, the River Walk and Travis Park are all aglow with holiday lights, but if you're in the mood for a country winter wonderland, there are a number of major lighting displays around San Antonio that make for a good one-day road trip.

Fredericksburg may come the closest to a Hallmark Channel-style Christmas of any town in the Hill Country

The town of 11,000 is within an hour-and-a-half drive to the northwest of San Antonio.

The town is so into Christmas, they have an official tree-lighting ceremony every night at 6 p.m. in the town's Marktplatz. Think "Groundhog Day," the movie. The tree is 30 feet tall, and visitors will also find a towering German Christmas pyramid with wooden figures and a spinning windmill.

The pyramid was handcrafted in Germany and has been on display every Christmas since 2009.

The ceremony includes a 10-minute audio presentation on the town's German heritage as well as holiday carols. There is also ice skating rink in the Marktplatz.

The city's main street of shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms and breweries is also lit up. Fredericksburg's Christmas lights are up every night through Jan. 6.

There is the Johnson City Lights Spectacular, about an hour up U.S. 281 North out of San Antonio. It features the brightly lit, historic Blanco Courthouse. Over at the headquarters of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which provides electricity to most of the Hill County, they flex their power muscles with a 1 million-light display on the PEC grounds.

Organizers say the lights are so dense they can be seen from space. Horse-drawn carriage rides in the small town are also available Thursdays through Sundays. The Johnson City Lights Spectacular runs through Jan. 2.

And straight up the I-35 corridor, on the southbound side of the freeway between New Braunfels and San Marcos, lies Santa's Ranch. It offers a drive-through of over a mile with all sorts of lighted displays, including dinosaurs and monster trucks. There is a $35 charge per vehicle to drive through Santa's Ranch, which is open through Jan. 2.

The Old West Christmas Light Fest at Enchanted Spring Ranch on Texas 46 West at Boerne features 3 million lights on 40 Old West-style buildings. It is open on select days through Dec. 24. Tickets are $15 for adults, but there are discounts for military, first responders and children.

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