General Event Info

Capture the true spirit of a small-town holiday celebration at the 31st Annual Holiday Lighting Festival on

Friday, December 3rd, 2021 in Downtown Denton

Hello and welcome attendees of the 2021 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival! It’s been a crazy past couple of years and we’re working hard with Santa’s Elves, or our board of directors, to adapt to the ever-increasing needs and volume of festival goers! Organized by an independent board of volunteers since 1988, the Holiday Lighting Festival has proudly taken place around the Denton County Courthouse lawn alongside the wassail tasting organized by the Denton Main Street Association. However, over the last several events, it’s become busier and full to the stocking’s brim. Unfortunately, COVID has also led us to seriously reevaluate how the festival was traditionally organized. For 2021, we’re spreading out and covering more ground to help alleviate the concentration of crowds downtown, and to bring more fun for the whole family. So, what’s happening this year exactly?

Denton County Courthouse Lawn

Santa’s on the downtown square waiting for all the good girls and boys to get a photo with him, and this year he’s brought a reinsteer! A reinsteer is sort of like a reindeer, but with longer horns and he fits at home on a ranch, perfect for delivering gifts to children around Texas. We’ve narrowed down the stages to just one and the music kicks off with performances from The Denton Community Band, Denton Ballet Academy, and High School Caesar. Don’t miss the lighting of the Lee Walker tree at 6:00 pm! For those who have performed in past events, we’re greatly looking forward to sending out the casting call early next year to resume our usual entertainment schedule and jingle back to our usual three performance stages. If you’re feeling lost, stop by the information booth to grab a map or ask any questions. While you’re there, purchase an ornament! Last but not least, let’s not forget the horse carriage rides. This time the horses play a very special role in carting the passengers to our next magical location, Who-ville Hollow.

Who-ville Hollow at the Denton Historical Park

Who doesn’t love the Christmas spirit? Everyone except for the Grinch, that is. Rumor has it he’s been spotted souring everyone’s holiday cheer by the Bayless Selby House. There’s plenty of free crafts for children of all ages to put together with help from the Greater Denton Arts Council. Holiday vendor booths, carolers performing in the gazebo, and even a trackless train ride around the historic park makes Who-ville Hollow an event location you do not want to miss.

Peppermint Park

Nestled between Oak and Hickory Street, across from East Side is Peppermint Park hosting free activities for kids including bounce houses, live music, and a balloon artist. Be on your best behavior, the Elf on the Shelf might just catch you doing something naughty if he’s not too busy posing for photos! Bounce on over to Peppermint Park!

Winter Wonderland at Williams Square

Waltz into a Winter Wonderland behind the Wells Fargo building off the square where a line of food trucks await. Watch your step, the forecast predicts snow in this area atop our twelve foot tall snow slide! But wait, how is that possible? It turns out Olaf came to visit and brought some snow with him! He must be here to listen to DJ Kind Beats play the crowd some melodious holiday tunes. Visit the Winter Wonderland to relax, take a ride down the slide, listen to some fun music, and grab a bite to eat and maybe even find a Christmas present, too!

The Return of Krampus

Guten Krampusnacht! You heard that right, somehow Krampus snuck his way back in to enjoy a view of the festivities atop his sinister flaming throne at Beer Alley and the Bearded Monk. Krampus is feeling unusually generous this year and is actually giving away presents to good kids! Hey, we thought that was Santa’s job! The faint of heart need not fret, Krampus is a bit creeped out by the elf on a shelf at Peppermint Park and isn’t braving his annual venture into the heart of the downtown square until the Krampuslauf takes place at 7:00pm on the next day, December 4th. The Krampuslauf boasts a parade of assorted macabre costumes, folklore dress, and Krampi marching through the downtown Denton Square (apparently Krampi is the plural of Krampus).

What’s Free and What Requires a Wristband?

A big goal of the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival is to provide free entertainment and holiday fun for adults and children of all ages. The following destinations are free to the public:

Downtown wassail tasting
Who-Ville arts and crafts booth
Santa and the reinsteer (Bring Your Own Camera)
Peppermint Park bounce houses
Peppermint Park balloon art
The Grinch, Olaf, and Elf on the shelf!
All the joyful performances spread throughout the downtown square

So what’s the wristband for? In order for the Holiday Lighting festival to pursue its purpose and put on a fantastic show every year, several of the rides require a $5 wristband per person (lap children are free). In the past, several of the stops, such as the horse carriage and photos with Santa, required a ticket. We’ve simplified the process this year through Eventbrite to pre-order wristbands in advance, but we will also sell wristbands on-site at each location that requires them. This wristband provides unlimited access to the following rides:

Who-Ville Hollow Trackless Train
Downtown Square Horse Carriage Ride
Winter Wonderland Snow Slide
On-site photograph with Santa

We want to take this moment to ask those of a charitable heart to bring a toy to donate to the Elves Shelves truck parked on the square. If carrying a toy with you seems cumbersome, that’s ok! You can donate a toy to a child in need through our website at:

Photos with Santa

Visit Santa in the sleigh on the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-square lawn. Stop by and take your Christmas pictures with Santa! If you p

Elves Shelves Toy Drive

Once again the festival will be hosting a toy drive. Toys gathered will be distributed to families needing assistance during the Christmas season in Denton County through Elves Shelves.. Toy drop-offs will be at the Santa goodie bag drive-thru at First Denton Church.

Video courtesy of:  -Andy LaViolette with Mr. Magic Carpet Ride Productions


Historic Denton Square, Williams Square Parking Lot, Between Oak and History Streets