SAN ANGELO, Texas — For more than 40 years, people from near and far have enjoyed the sights, sounds and treats at Christmas at Old Fort Concho.
Organizers have stayed busy preparing for the three-day event which runs Friday, Dec.2-Sunday, Dec. 4, on the Fort grounds.
Fort Concho Site Manager Bob Bluthardt said "there's things to eat, lots of stuff to buy and we blow something up every hour."
Artillery demonstrations (blanks, of course) will be at the top of each hour (with the exception of a lunch break), Bluthardt said.
So, what keeps bringing people from San Angelo, across Texas and out-of-state coming back to the event year after year?
"If you have a family, it is a very reasonably-priced event. Cheaper than a movie, much cheaper than a big concert, there's ongoing music, ongoing history, on going shopping. There's just something going on in every corner of the place and for $3-7, you just can't bet that," Bluthardt said.
"Also, traditions are important, even if they are the same thing," he said. "Yes, some of the things we do are the same every year, but people still love them."
One of the most anticipated traditions at Christmas at Old Fort Concho is the Lions Pancakes with Santa event. The breakfast is set for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Stables, 2010 Henry O. Flipper St. Tickets are available from any Lions Club member or at the Fort Concho main office.
The gingerbread and decorated cookie contests are once again in the Quartermaster Building this year. The tradition of gingerbread house contest started by the late Sandy Whitley more than two decades go. In 2021, her daughter, Julie Quam, took over the reins of the event.
The deadline for submissions for both contests is Nov. 29.
There will be vendor booths, entertainment, historical reenactments and more at the event to kick off the Christmas season for some.
"I think over the years, this event has served, along with the first blue norther, as the real beginning to the Christmas season," he said.
One change Bluthardt mentioned about the event is that because of safety protocols, only service animals will be allowed on the grounds this year.
For more information on Christmas at Old Fort Concho, including a full schedule, go to fortconcho.com.