The holiday season is ramping up, and that means it’s time for holiday decorations. At Elf Acres in West San Antonio, Ray and Miriam Callahan decided to transform 15 acres they owned off of Grosenbacher Road into a drive-through Christmas light show opening Friday, Nov. 16.
Sunni Schwencke, manager of Elf Acres, said this is the holiday attraction’s fourth year. Ray and Miriam decided to clear the land, create a trail, and put in lights and a walk-around area for people to park their cars and explore slowly.
The Callahans “just loved Christmas,” she said.
Vendors will sell snacks like kettle corn, hot chocolate, and glow-in-the-dark cotton candy, Schwenckesaid. Elf Acres even has its own radio station. Once visitors drive onto the far Westside property, they’ll be told which station to tune into to listen to Christmas carols.
“It can be really fun,” Schwencke said. “Even in the times where the line might be longer and you’re sitting car-to-car, you’ll hear the same song and you might have a truck full of kids singing the same song. It can make it a really fun, community-type environment.”
Elf Acres runs through Dec. 30. The trail is open every day, and tickets cost $27 per car or $54 for three visits. Part of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), a ministry with the Baptist Child & Family Services in San Antonio. Miriam Callahan, who is a retired pastor, used to work with CERI, Schwencke explained.
“They’ve been involved with this ministry over 10 years, and believe really strongly in them and are excited to get to a place where they can give to them,” Schwencke said.
Schwencke recommended planning visits to Elf Acres in advance, as Fridays and Saturdays can get crowded. Santa will be available for photos from Nov. 16 to Dec. 23, she said.
Learn more about Elf Acres here.
Other holiday light shows
Light The Way at UIW: The University of Incarnate Word has been putting on its holiday light show for more than 30 years, always starting on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There will be food trucks, performances, local vendors at the Holiday Shoppe, and Santa Claus. This year, the lights go on at 6:30 p.m. Learn more here.
Zoo Lights: Christmas lights plus animals equals the San Antonio Zoo in the holiday season. The zoo will be decked with lights from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31 every day from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Learn more here.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas: If you want to add adrenaline to your Christmas lights browsing, you can always head over to Fiesta Texas. The theme park starts its holiday edition on Saturday, adding attractions such as singing Christmas trees, Santa, and a holiday-themed train to its array of thrill rides. The lights will be on through Jan. 6. Learn more here.
Other activities to check out this weekend
Run the River 5K: This week, San Antonio felt a real winter chill as temperatures dipped into the 30s. But this weekend, the city will see a some balmier weather when Saturday’s high climbs back into the 70s.
On Saturday morning, the Green Spaces Alliance is hosting its second annual Run the River 5K. The race route starts at Nueva Street and South Alamo and follows the San Antonio River, eventually circling back to Hemisfair where the 18th annual Solar Fest will take place.
The race is family-friendly, Green Spaces Alliance Board President Emily Boice said. The entrance fee for runners ages 17 and under costs $15, while adults 18 and up pay $35.
“We are encouraging people to wear green,” Boice said. “If they have some sort of fun garden outfit – because we have a lot of gardeners that come and hang out — we’re encouraging people to, like, wear a tutu and dress up like a flower and be silly. Since this is such a fun location people get excited about running down the river.”
Green Spaces Alliance works to preserve green areas in San Antonio and in surrounding counties, Boice said. Proceeds from the run go to support three of the organization’s biggest programs: Land Conservation, which aims to protect natural land through conservation easements; Picture Your World, which teaches kids about nature; and the alliance’s network of community gardens.
Packet pickup for runners starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, and the race starts at 9:30 a.m. Learn more about the race here.
San Antonio Auto Show: The Henry B. González Convention Center is being taken over by cars, trucks, and automobiles this weekend. It’s the San Antonio Auto and Truck Show’s 50th anniversary, and the SA Auto Dealers are bringing 29 brands of cars to the convention center for people to look at and purchase from Thursday through Sunday.
Tip: If you take the show’s personality quiz, you can receive a coupon code for $2 off admission. A one-day pass is $12 for adults if purchased online and $14 at the door. Kids 5 years old and younger get in free, while 6- to 10-year-olds are $4. Military and seniors aged 65 and up get in for $8. Learn more about the show here.