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Grinch stole Bandera's Cowboy Christmas

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Photo by Maggie Schumacher
Despite most Christmas events slated for the weekend of Friday, Dec. 6, being cancelled due to the possibility of inclement weather, the First Friday Fish Fry, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, went off without a hitch. As this photo attests, it was great fun at the parish hall.

Well, it appears that The Grinch stole Bandera's Cowboy Christmas, which included Shoppers Jubilee; the Cowboy Capital Christmas Parade; various and sundry Living Nativities and choirs, as well as the Cowboy Campfire on the River.

The expected - and widely reported - sleet and ice storms failed to materialize, but bone-chilling temps put the kibosh on last weekend's holiday celebrations.

Some business owners who had prepared for Shoppers' Jubilee, were nonplussed to discover that carolers, minstrels and strolling singin' cowboys were not to be found. On Thursday, Dec. 5, members of the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce received an email noting: "Each store will use their own judgment as to whether or not they will be open Friday evening."

Traditionally, the first Friday in December is earmarked for the Bandera Business Association's Shopper Jubilee, which takes place from 6 pm to 9 pm. During this time, with the help from free entertainment and other special activities, the BBA encourages shoppers to visit local businesses. In turn, business owners provide light refreshments and libations, as well as storewide specials.

To participate in Shoppers' Jubilee, business owners did not have to belong to either the Chamber or BBA. Because of this, perhaps there was no mechanism for letting all know that the ancillary events associated with Shoppers' Jubilee had been cancelled.

One apparently in-the-dark business owner called the Western Trail Antiques Mall, to find out what had happened, i.e., where were the carolers and other promised activities?

"If I personally hadn't been told about participation in Shoppers' Jubilee being up to individual merchants, I wouldn't have been able to explain what had happened," mall owner Mary Jane Crowe told the Courier in an interview.

All was not lost, however, as the First Friday Fish Fry, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, went off without a hitch - successfully serving a crowded Parish Hall.

Each month, the First Friday Fish Fry includes two pieces of catfish, three hushpuppies, cole slaw, French fries, beans and beverage for only $8. Dessert is by donation and diners are urged not to wait until after dinner to select a dessert because, chances are, the table might be bare.

This year, other Christmas festivities are still on the books. The annual Holiday Tasting Tea will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Friday, Dec. 13, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 403 Highway 173 North. The Tasting Tea Committee scoffs at predictions of inclement weather.

The highlight of this event is the delicious delicacies homemade by members of the congregation - and, of course, a never-ending bowl of champagne punch. Cost is a $10 donation at the door.

Bandera's holiday activities will conclude at 3 pm, Saturday, Dec. 21, with the annual "Singing in the Saddle." This Christmas caroling trail ride around Bandera originates at the Longhorn Saloon, 1307 Main Street, and wagons will be available for non-riders. Afterward, everyone heads back to the Longhorn for hot chocolate and cookies served from a chuck wagon.

Hopefully, with cooperative weather, the Cowboy Christmas celebrations will continue unabated in 2014.