Just 10 miles down the interstate from the university, a winter wonderland will soon settle in. Every beginning of December, brightly colored lights will be visible for all to see, to draw a curious crowd to investigate what Salado, Texas, has to offer.
This magical tradition of Salado Stroll brings in many people from all over to visit the charming shops located along Main Street and capture a glimpse of each one’s miraculous Christmas decorations.
Annie Dubois, from Houston, Texas, is now a shop owner on Main Street. She saw Salado showcased in the Houston Chronicle last summer in August.
“I thought, I’ve got to come visit this place because it just sounds amazing, and I did,” Dubois said, “Unknown to me, I came during the Christmas Stroll.”
Dubois was fascinated by what she saw.
“It was absolutely as if this was a Norman Rockwell village, and he lived here,” she said.
Many people dress in back-in-time attire, to add character to the old-timey custom.
“The women had the long gowns and snow muffs, and the men had the tailed coats with top hats,” she said.
Other enjoyable features to the Stroll are the performances.
“Different school choirs will come and sing on the balconies of different shops,” Dubois said.
The street is a postcard perfect view.
“The village is literally decorated unbelievably,” she said, “You’ll think you’re on 5th Avenue in New York.”
“The Texan friendliness” of shop owners and workers are contagious throughout Main Street, and her trip a year ago to Salado during this time, is what brought Dubois to make a permanent move and open Ya Gotta Have It.
The store is stocked with gourmet Tex-Mex goods, boxed soups, a variety of cooking utensils and even a few Christmas desserts.
Since the Stroll causes quite a crowd, the shops stay open later than normal.
“You can’t find a place to park, but everybody knows about that,” Dubois said.
She recommends visitors to park “and just start walking.”
Salado Stroll happens during the first two weekends of December. Special home tours, live entertainment, carolers, a live nativity scene and, of course, late night shopping are offered.
The festivities begin around 9 a.m. and continue well into the evening.
“Even though it gets dark around 5:30 the street is so lit up. There are luminaries lining all of Main Street,” she said, “Santa even drives down on a motorcycle.”
Students take advantage of the merry events.
“I think it will be good to take a break from studying to visit the Stroll,” junior nursing major Jacquie Case said. “I’ve heard it’s amazing.”
Last year was just as miraculous.
“The lights captivated me,” junior elementary education major Brianna Maciel said.
In the midst of the holiday busyness, Salado Stroll is a must see.
“It’s worth coming,” Dubois said, “it truly, truly is.”