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Event Roundup: Thanksgiving Week

Jenna Mazzoccoli
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Happy Thanksgiving Week! There are lots of holiday festivities happening around Houston this week. If you’re looking for fun ideas to join in the holiday cheer, check out these events.

Following the White House tradition which began under President John F. Kennedy, join to "pardon" a turkey at the Children's Museum. (Photo courtesy of Children's Museum Houston)

4th Annual Turkey Pardon at Children’s Museum Houston 
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Children’s Museum Houston will pardon a turkey, following the White House tradition. Come say hello to a real, live turkey at the Children’s Museum. This is included with the price of admission. 
BakerRipley Houston Turkey Trot
On Thanksgiving Day, the BakerRipley Turkey Trot is back in person. Race start times are from 7:25 to 9 a.m. Sign up in advance for the 10k, 5k, or 1k Kid’s Run, or show up to cheer on the runners. Registration for the Turkey Trot is $20-40.

Cheer on floats and performances at the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade! (Photo: Richard Carson)

72nd Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Houston’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the oldest in the country. The parade, consisting of floats, marching bands, and more, will travel 20 blocks around downtown starting at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The public is invited to line the streets of downtown to cheer on the participants and floats. This year’s parade is themed “Houston Heroes” to celebrate those who helped during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Dr. Peter Hotez will be the grand marshal of the parade. The parade will begin with a performance from Cirque du Soleil. This event is free and open to the public. 

The annual Uptown Holiday Lighting event kicks off the holiday season on Post Oak Boulevard.

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Kick off the holiday season with live entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus, art cars, holiday gift booths, concessions, fireworks, and a light show of 300 new, 20-feet-tall holiday trees that line the boulevard this year on Thanksgiving Day from 4-9 p.m.

The Nutcracker
Opening Nov. 26, Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker. In this traditional holiday tale, Clara and Drosselmeyer travel together to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy is reunited with her Nutcracker prince and discovers a world of magic. Masks are required. Purchase tickets online in advance or at the box office. Tickets start at $27.

Flea by Night
Discovery Green's night market expands to a weekly event during the holiday season. On Nov. 27 starting at 6 p.m., browse works by local artisans, antiques and other treasures plus live music, food trucks, lawn games and more. Flea by Night returns Dec. 11 and 18.

Thanksgiving Weekend: Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty
The Houston Symphony will deliver the fan-favorite Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet score Nov. 26-28 for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets start at $29.

Zoo Lights
Zoo Lights returns to the Houston Zoo this year and runs through Jan. 9. The Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland, including more than two million lights. Zoo Lights is open on Thanksgiving Day. Purchase tickets in advance; timed tickets allow for proper social distancing (tickest are not available for purchase at the gate). Admission starts at $17.

Glide along The ICE at Discovery Green through Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy of Discovery Green)

ICE at Discovery Green
The Ice at Discovery Green is a favorite holiday activity. The ice rink is brought in once a year and set up in Discovery Green. This year, tickets must be purchased in advance to minimize overcrowding. The ICE will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but open to skaters the rest of the weekend. Tickets are $15. 

Lightscape at Houston Botanic Garden
Lightscape is new to the Houston Botanic Garden this year. The magical light display runs through Jan. 2. Walk through at night and enjoy strolling through the lights along the winding paths. Availability cannot be guaranteed at the door, so buying tickets in advance is advised. Lightscape is open on Thanksgiving Day. Tickets start at $20.

47th annual Texas Renaissance Festival
Held on 77 acres of permanent fairgrounds in the woods, interact with street performers, eat, drink, shop, and see plays, comedy acts, falconry, and jousting. For the most fun, wear your own Renaissance costume. During Thanksgiving weekend, the Texas Renaissance Festival fairgrounds are transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Presale tickets at a reduced price are available, or purchase tickets the day-of at the box office or online.

Holiday in the Plaza
Visit with Santa at CityCentre’s Holiday in the Plaza on Sat., Nov. 28, 12-5 p.m. Bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to The Salvation Army in exchange for a picture with Santa. 

Bellaire Chanukah Festival

Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg lighting the menorah at a past Bellaire Chanukah Festival. (Photo: Joe Center) 

Bellaire Chanukah Festival
Chanukah begins the evening of Sun., Nov. 28 this year. On Sunday, join the Bellaire community at 4 p.m. for family fun in Bellaire Town Square. The Bellaire Chanukah Festival will have face painting and crafts, a delicious dinner buffet, a Menorah lighting, and live music. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. 

Chanukah Hop Houston
Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 6, more than 15 families from across the greater Houston area will decorate the outside of their homes with Chanukah-themed lights and decorations. Hop around town to view these festive decorations. Sign up to receive the map here.

Editor’s note: Meet Santa and snap a picture with him at one of these festive stops around town! Find a list of ways to give back this holiday season. See a list of upcoming holiday events here. Browse our event calendar for all upcoming events. 

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