Abilene’s Glittering Gala: The Cowtown Christmas Light Showdown!

An old Western cowtown representing Abilene, Kansas from the old west days, in a black and white photograph style. The scene is adorned with colorful Christmas lights on buildings, giving a festive and Christmasy atmosphere. There are wooden buildings with saloon and store fronts typical of an old Western town, a dirt road, a horse carriage or two, and some tumbleweeds. The Christmas lights stand out in color against the black and white image, bringing a sense of holiday warmth to the vintage scene.

By Larry Billinger

A Contest of Lights

Abilene’s nights are set to twinkle like never before! It’s the Cowtown Christmas Light Showdown, where the city transforms into a canvas of lights, each home an artist’s creation. With just 20 spots for Abilene residents, it’s your time to sparkle—no entry fee, just your brightest ideas!

The Main Event (6:30 PM – 8:00 PM)

As dusk settles on December 2, watch as the city lights up, house by house. The festivities begin at 6:30 PM in Little Ike Park, where the Mayor will illuminate the Christmas tree. The event culminates with the announcement of the champion at 8 PM, followed by a spectacular fireworks display! It’s a sight that promises to be as perfect as a storybook, a true highlight of holiday magic in Abilene’s own unique way.

A Vote for Generosity

This event isn’t just a visual treat—it’s a chance to give back. Bring donations to the Abilene Food Bank between 4:30 and 6:30 PM, and in return, you’ll hold the power to vote in this radiant competition. Take the map, explore the glimmering streets, and choose the display that dazzles you most.

Cast Your Ballot

Your chosen spectacle deserves a vote! Drop your ballot at Amanda’s Bakery & Bistro by 7:30 PM and make your opinion part of the festive night’s outcome.

Prizes That Shine

  • First Place: Scoop up $2,000!
  • Second Place: Grab $1,000!
  • Third Place: Take home $500!
  • Mayor’s Picks: Four houses will nab $100 each.

Join the Festivities

Be part of the glow. Light up your home, share in the giving, and vote for your favorites. Abilene’s Cowtown Christmas Light Showdown is more than a contest—it’s a beacon of community spirit. Will your lights guide Santa here? Let’s light up the night and celebrate together!


Reach out to Abilene Parks & Recreation.

For event website, go to 2023 Holiday Guide | Visit Abilene, Kansas (abilenekansas.org)

December 2, 2023: The Cowtown Christmas Schedule

  • All Day: Christmas Tree Lane Tour
  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Breakfast with Santa (Ticket needed)
  • 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM: A Craftsman’s Gift Market
  • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Christmas Tree and Wreath Auction
  • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Holiday Tours at Historic Seelye Mansion
  • 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Country Christmas Open House
  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Cowboy Christmas
  • 1:00 PM & 2:00 PM: Santa Train Rides (Ticket needed)
  • 2:00 PM: Miracle on 34th Street at Great Plains Theatre
  • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Letters to Santa at Harvey Drug
  • 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Heritage Homes Tour & Old Fashioned Christmas
  • 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Christmas Cruise for Food
  • 5:00 PM & 7:15 PM: Cowtown Santa Express (Ticket needed)
  • 6:30 PM: Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting
  • 6:40 PM: Santa Visits
  • 7:15 PM: Snowball Drop for kids & Cowtown Santa Express (Ticket needed)
  • 7:20 PM: Turkey Drop for adults
  • 7:30 PM: AHS Singers Performance & Ballot Submission Deadline
  • 8:00 PM: Light Showdown Winners Announced & Fireworks

December 3, 2023:

  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Holiday Tours at Seelye Mansion
  • 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Heritage Homes Tour
  • 2:00 PM: Miracle on 34th Street Show & Abilene Band Concert
  • 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Old Fashioned Christmas

Don’t miss out on the joy, the lights, and the spirit of giving! See you there!

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