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WinterFest, Lights on the Lake kick off El Paso winter holiday events

Families pose with Santa Clause at the city's WinterFest celebration in Downtown El Paso. This year's festivities kick off on Saturday, Nov. 18.
City of El Paso
Families pose with Santa Clause at the city's WinterFest celebration in Downtown El Paso. This year's festivities kick off on Saturday, Nov. 18.

by Cindy Ramirez, El Paso Matters
November 14, 2023

After a record-hot summer in El Paso, the winter holiday event season is a welcome reprieve. From the city’s WinterFest to the county’s Lights on the Lake, here’s a roundup of the big events happening across the Borderland to celebrate the holiday season:

Magic of Lights: Families can drive-through holiday-themed illuminated displays and more than 2 million lights starting Friday through Dec. 31 at the parking lot of Camp Cohen, 9700 Gateway North Blvd. Magic of lights will be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays to Sundays through Dec. 7; and until 10 p.m. daily starting on Dec. 8. Tickets start at $25 per vehicle at the gate; discount if purchased online. The event is a new attraction to the El Paso WinterFest festivities by Destination El Paso with Family Entertainment Holdings.

The Scherr Legate Lights Parade, part of WinterFest, is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. (Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre courtesy City of El Paso WinterFest)

El Paso WinterFest: WinterFest, the city of E Paso’s annual winter holiday event, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 at San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown with music by the Fort Bliss 1st Armored Division Band and St. Anthony’s Franciscanos Choir. The tree lighting ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Scherr Legate Lights Parade at 6 p.m. WinterFest will feature lights displays, ice-skating, music and entertainment, arts and food vendors and more daily through Jan. 1 at San Jacinto Plaza and the Arts Festival Plaza by the El Paso Museum of Art. Free admission; ice rink prices vary. Special activities at the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Zoo, El Paso International Airport and aboard the El Paso Streetcar.

The Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers Sun Bowl Parade starts at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day along Montana Avenue from Ochoa Street to Copia Street. (Courtesy Sun Bowl Association)

Sun Bowl Parade: The Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers Sun Bowl Parade starts at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23 along Montana Avenue from Ochoa Street to Copia Street. This year’s theme is “Rock ‘N Roll Extravaganza” and the grand marshal is Tuff Hedeman, the bull riding champion and professional rodeo cowboy from El Paso. The parade will air live on KTSM Channel 9 and online at

Holiday Lights on the Lake: Holiday Lights on the Lake Spectacular, by the county of El Paso and Fred Loya Partners, kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 at Ascarate Park, 6900 Delta Drive, and will again feature the popular Fred Loya synchronized light show. The holiday display will be open for walk-throughs or drive-throughs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 6; with synchronized light shows 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays to Sundays to Dec. 24, as well as on Monday, Dec. 25. Free admission; vendor prices vary.

Holiday Lights at the Lake Spectacular features photo opportunities with holiday characters, including Jack and Sally from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas.' (Courtesy County of El Paso)

Holiday Movies at WinterFest: Presented by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, holiday movie favorites like “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” will be shown at various days and times from Sunday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Dec. 24 at the Plaza Theatre Kendle Kidd Performance Hall and the El Paso Museum of Art Auditorium. Movies at the Plaza Theatre will be preceded by a 30-minute performance by Richard Garven on the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. Free admission.

City of Socorro WinterFest: The city of Socorro’s lights parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at Sanchez Middle School and ends at the Rio Vista Community Center. The city’s WinterFest follows at the center with food vendors, games, rides, art and crafts, live entertainment and pictures with Santa.

City of Las Cruces Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: The event is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at Plaza de Las Cruces, 100 N. Main Street in Las Cruces with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Live music, entertainment, food trucks and activities. Free admission. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will be shown at 8 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main Street, Las Cruces. Movie is $5 per person. 

Other upcoming events include the annual Luminaria Festival and Posada Celebration in San Elizario and the Centennial Lions Club Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting event in Horizon. Details are pending.

This list will be updated as more events are announced. Send your announcement to to be added.

This article first appeared on El Paso Matters and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Article Topic Follows: Entertainment

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