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Love, Santa, from Big Bend Ranch State Park

The annual Christmas extravaganza at Big Bend Ranch State Park was hosted at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center this week.

There was a standing room only crowd. It was comprised of "winter" Texans, residents of Lajitas, Terlingua and Study Butte, and visitors to the park.

David Long, Superintendent, said it’s a far cry from the first Warnock Christmas on the Border'celebration in 1996. Back then, they had a campfire, hot chocolate, luminaries in the garden, and Doug Davis played  guitar to about a dozen people. The party was moved indoors in 2000 due to adverse weather conditions and growing popularity.

That was also the year that Ted Arbogast, Director of the Terlingua Community Choir and the Terlingua School Band, became a central part of the event. Through Arbogast's involvement, the school’s dance troupe also joined in and, this year the Paisano Dancers performed “Folklorico," while the 8th-Grade Dancers performed “Posada.”

One of the evening's celebrants was a Colorado resident on a long road trip. "I had no idea the diversity and sense of community I would find here,"  he said, "in addition to this ruggedly beautiful park. Christmas really did come early this year."

While there were some concerns about Santa being able to arrive on time given the full moon and the trajectory of the International Space Station, Father Christmas did not disappoint. "There were a lot of requests for puppies and bikes and some of the usual items," Santa said,"but one little girl named Brooke topped her list with Love. That's one exceptional young person. And that's what this is all about."

According to Superintendent Long, the Christmas party is one of the best attended events in south Brewster County.

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