After a record-hot summer in El Paso, the winter holiday event season is a welcome reprieve. From the city’s WinterFest to the county’s Lights on the Lake, here’s a roundup of the big events happening across the Borderland to celebrate the holiday season:

Magic of Lights: Families can drive-through holiday-themed illuminated displays and more than 2 million lights starting Friday through Dec. 31 at the parking lot of Camp Cohen, 9700 Gateway North Blvd. Magic of lights will be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays to Sundays through Dec. 7; and until 10 p.m. daily starting on Dec. 8. Tickets start at $25 per vehicle at the gate; discount if purchased online. The event is a new attraction to the El Paso WinterFest festivities by Destination El Paso with Family Entertainment Holdings.

The Scherr Legate Lights Parade, part of WinterFest, is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. (Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre courtesy City of El Paso WinterFest)

El Paso WinterFest: WinterFest, the city of E Paso’s annual winter holiday event, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 at San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown with music by the Fort Bliss 1st Armored Division Band and St. Anthony’s Franciscanos Choir. The tree lighting ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Scherr Legate Lights Parade at 6 p.m. WinterFest will feature lights displays, ice-skating, music and entertainment, arts and food vendors and more daily through Jan. 1 at San Jacinto Plaza and the Arts Festival Plaza by the El Paso Museum of Art. Free admission; ice rink prices vary. Special activities at the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Zoo, El Paso International Airport and aboard the El Paso Streetcar.

The Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers Sun Bowl Parade starts at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day along Montana Avenue from Ochoa Street to Copia Street. (Courtesy Sun Bowl Association)

Sun Bowl Parade: The Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers Sun Bowl Parade starts at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23 along Montana Avenue from Ochoa Street to Copia Street. This year’s theme is “Rock ‘N Roll Extravaganza” and the grand marshal is Tuff Hedeman, the bull riding champion and professional rodeo cowboy from El Paso. The parade will air live on KTSM Channel 9 and online at

Holiday Lights on the Lake: Holiday Lights on the Lake Spectacular, by the county of El Paso and Fred Loya Partners, kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 at Ascarate Park, 6900 Delta Drive, and will again feature the popular Fred Loya synchronized light show. The holiday display will be open for walk-throughs or drive-throughs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 6; with synchronized light shows 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays to Sundays to Dec. 24, as well as on Monday, Dec. 25. Free admission; vendor prices vary.

Holiday Lights at the Lake Spectacular features photo opportunities with holiday characters, including Jack and Sally from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ (Courtesy County of El Paso)

Holiday Movies at WinterFest: Presented by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, holiday movie favorites like “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” will be shown at various days and times from Sunday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Dec. 24 at the Plaza Theatre Kendle Kidd Performance Hall and the El Paso Museum of Art Auditorium. Movies at the Plaza Theatre will be preceded by a 30-minute performance by Richard Garven on the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. Free admission.

City of Socorro WinterFest: The city of Socorro’s lights parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at Sanchez Middle School and ends at the Rio Vista Community Center. The city’s WinterFest follows at the center with food vendors, games, rides, art and crafts, live entertainment and pictures with Santa.

Luminarias by the Lake at Keystone Heritage Park: The event features entertainment, vendors, hot beverages, cookies, traditional luminarias and poinsettias sale from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2 at the park, 4200 Doniphan Dr.

Horizon City Christmas Parade: Hosted by the Centennial Lions Club, the parade is at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. The parade will start at Darrington and Ryderwood roads and end at the corner of McMahon and Biglon streets. The tree lighting will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at the Oz Glaze Senior Citizen Center, 13969 Veny Webb Way with hot chocolate and goodies.

City of Las Cruces Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: The event is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Plaza de Las Cruces, 100 N. Main Street in Las Cruces with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Live music, entertainment, food trucks and activities. Free admission. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will be shown at 8 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main Street, Las Cruces. Movie is $5 per person.

Celebrate Hanukkah: The Jewish Federation of El Paso / Las Cruces will host a Celebrate Hanukkah event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 at San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown El Paso. The Festival of Lights event includes the lighting of the menorah at the plaza. Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish celebration, this year begins Dec. 7 and ends Dec. 15.

San Elizario Christmas Tree Lighting / Winter Holiday Parade of Lights: The annual lighting of the Christmas tree will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1500 Main Street in San Elizario at the Pistoleros parking lot, with the holiday market featuring food trucks, vendors, arts and crafts and music opening at 3 p.m. The parade of lights is at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15 ending at Veterans Memorial Plaza, followed by food, entertainment and vendors to 10 p.m. Presented by the City of San Elizario and the San Elizario Historic District.

Navidad de La Fe Luminarias: More than 4,000 luminarias will be lit along Scenic Drive as part of the annual event from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 put on by the Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe. Free and open to the public. Enter at Scenic Drive and Richmond Avenue and head westbound on a single lane then exit at Rim Road. Donations of canned or nonperishable foods or cash will be accepted to help families in need.

This list will be updated as more events are announced. Send your announcement to to be added.

El Paso native Cindy Ramirez has spent most of her career in journalism, with some stints in public and media relations and military reporting. She's covered everything from education to local government...