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Lights, Carols, Costumes, Action!

By Noelle Pareja

State parks celebrate the holiday traditions of Texas.

When the 100-year-old steam train of the Texas State Railroad State Park pulls out of Palestine this month, it will be festooned with lights and crowded with passengers enjoying a Victorian Christmas. Ladies costumed in period clothes will be selling cider, lemonade, fruitcakes and gingerbread cookies. Strolling carolers will sing on the station platform while eager children wait for Santa Claus to step down from the train and talk to them.

The 6th annual Victorian train ride is one of many traditional Christmas celebrations that Texas state parks are offering this holiday season. Visitors can enjoy tree-lighting ceremonies, tour historic buildings decorated in holiday trimmings, enjoy candle-lit Christmas dinners and breakfast with Santa. Many of the state park celebrations are free, although some events, such as the holiday feasts and the popular Victorian train ride, charge a fee and reservations are required.

Many sites also offer Christmas shopping in their state park stores, so come early and bring your shopping list.

For a complete listing of state park Christmas festivities, see Getaways on page 65, or visit the TPWD Web site at <www.tpwd.state.tx.us>.

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