LUBBOCK, Texas – The National Ranching Heritage Center opens its doors Friday and Saturday (December 9 and 10) for its 44th annual “Candlelight at the Ranch.”

Organizers said they expect 8,000 to 10,000 people to walk through the event. It’s a perfect opportunity for those who may be curious to find out how Christmas was celebrated throughout history.

Executive Director Jim Campbell said, “There’s something about a cowboy hat that resonates with people from Dallas to Beijing. And we get to see that on nights like [Friday] and [Saturday] night and that’s what makes it all worthwhile. “

In 2022, there were more than 5,000 luminarias lining the paths of the park. Campbell said it takes two months and a whole lot of volunteers to make it happen each year. He also said they have 300 volunteers, which is the most they’ve ever had sign up.

“Volunteer signups have just been outstanding, we have more and more families that want to be involved,” he added.

At the ranch, one can expect plenty of kettle corn, music, dancing, and of course Cowboy Santa.

“We’ve been working for this moment, but when we get to share it and we get to share this incredible facility and the history that really resides here in Lubbock and in the South Plains; that is so critical,” Campbell explained.

The ranch will be open until 9:00 Friday night but will open up again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but organizers encourage a $5 donation from each family.