WACO, Texas – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Downtown Waco during preparations for the Wonderland Festival.

The City of Waco Director of Parks and Recreation Jonathan Cook says they want the community to come together to kick off the holidays.

Last year, the Waco Wonderland Festival was limited to virtual fun due to the pandemic, and this year it is back at Heritage Square with new additions.

“You’ll be able to come out and take some pictures in front of some live reindeer which is always special,” Cook said. “We don’t get live reindeer here in Texas much, but we are excited they are going to be here for this years event on Friday night.”

Cook says this three-day event traditionally draws close to 25,000 people from all over. With big crowds comes traffic – and the city is prepared for that, too.

“We expect a very busy weekend. So we expect people to plan in advance. We do have plenty of free parking around the event perimeter,” Cook said.

The tree lighting and fireworks is another popular activity that happens on Friday.

You can also get a picture with Santa, ride the Ferris Wheel, and take in entertainment on the main stage.

The City of Waco Maintenance Technician Francisco Santos says he is excited for the community to come together for this event.

“My favorite part is going to be our zoo that we are going to have. Enjoy the sheep and the llama,” Santos said. “The fireworks [too], it’s a great view especially when you are on the Ferris Wheel.”

The three-day festival kicks off this Friday, there will also be a parade on Saturday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m.

For a list of events and times visit the Waco Wonderland website.