Wonderland of Lights
Make your holiday magical with a trip to the annual celebration of Marshall's famed Wonderland of Lights!
In 1987, the Marshall community was experiencing its worst local economy in its history, with unemployment skyrocketing to 20%. George S. Smith, then Marshall News Messenger Editor, was crossing the square and imagined the historic courthouse strung with lights. He returned to the news room and wrote wrote “Picture this: Marshall’s square, every tree, every bush…the Harrison County Courthouse Museum…A Gigantic Christmas Tree…Businesses around the square…decorated in tiny white lights. It could be a spectacle that would rival any other Christmas lighting scene in this area, think about it. We could make it happen.” A few months later a Marshall native living in France received a copy of the editorial and responded with a check enclosed for $25,000 and the simple note, “Have your wish.”
Over the years, the festival has grown to include an outdoor ice skating rink, vintage carousel, train and horse drawn carriage rides, and a collection of tiny houses making up Santa's Village. Additional weekly special events are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike - though the 1901 Historic Harrison County Courthouse, adorned in millions of white lights, remains the crown jewel.
Please be advised that 2020 will be a modified year observing limited nightly activities and amended special events. Visitors' health and safety are the first and foremost concerns this holiday season. Please refer to the FAQ's below for more detailed information.
Take in the lights
Watch a Hallmark movie come to life as you stroll through downtown Marshall, one of the 10 most charming Christmas towns in Texas. Bundle up and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through Historic Downtown Marshall, grab dinner with family, and shop for treasures in local shops. Enjoy in-store events or one of these special events:
- Virtual Lighting Ceremony on November 25
- Wassail Walk on November 28
- Weekly Story Walk
- Classic Christmas Movies at Memorial City Hall
- Self-Guided Christmas Parade
- Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol on December 6
- Outdoor Christmas Markets on December 5 and December 12
- Wonderland of Sites on December 19
We are committed to the care and safekeeping of our citizens and visitors. Please be advised that special events are subject to change or cancellation under and and all regulations in place by national, state, and local government.
Winter weather in East Texas can be unpredictable! Check with us daily by 4 pm to get up-to-date information on inclement weather arrangements for the nightly horse-drawn carriage rides.