WINTER IN WACO

HOW TO HOLIDAY IN WACO, TX

by: Debrah Wright— KNOW WACO

Waco is a wonderland during the holiday season, so if you need any excuses to grab the whole family and go get into the spirit of things, start now. Even those just visiting in the winter are in for a treat – this city offers a ton of festive things to do around Christmas time! If you missed out on the whimsical Waco Wonderland downtown celebration there is still so much to do to get into the holiday mood!

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS DONE RIGHT-

Waco Trolley can take you on the best tour of Christmas Lights in Waco, Texas. Their Waco Christmas Lights Tour features a 28-person trolley that is perfect for any amount of guests.

Driving around and looking at Christmas lights is an excellent pastime for many families and The Waco Trolley Christmas Lights Tour lets you see the best Christmas lights displays in the greater Waco area. The nostalgic Waco Trolley bus is decorated in a Christmas-style theme, and each guest is welcome to complimentary hot cocoa. The Waco Trolley Christmas Lights Tour is perfect for families, friends, holiday parties, and even corporate events. This tour is seasonal and is offered during the last weeks of December. By sitting back and relaxing on the trolley for the full 90 minutes, you can let them do the driving so that everyone can enjoy the scenery.

IF YOU WOULD PREFER TO DO THE DRIVING-

Most Wacoans have driven along Highway 84 near McGregor and would probably recognize Roger and Lana Schmidt’s home. The couple has been decorating their home since the early 2000s. Over the last 20 years, it’s expanded to include hundreds of thousands of lights, along with dozens of blow-ups and hand-made decorations. They were even showcased on America’s Great Christmas Light Fight a few years ago. It’s estimated that thousands of people come to see their lights every year, which are on until early January. The Schmidts collect donations for Fuzzy Friends— with last year’s totaling more than $10,000. If you would like to go check out the impressive holiday light display, they are located at 20 Oak Creek Circle in McGregor.

DON’T FORGET THE DRINKS –

Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits bar has turned into a Christmas wonderland. It’s called Spirit of Cheers! With an all new menu, you won’t want to miss out on this. Everything has been wrapped and holiday-a-fied to match the aesthetic of the season. Walk through a life size gingerbread and into a magical wonderland. Also, check out their delicious seasonal coffee drinks that are sure to warm up your heart.

SPIRIT OF CHEERS HOURS
Sun – Thurs:  5p – 11p
Fri – Sat: 5p-12a

Find more of my blogs @ https://knowwaco.com/blog/

Metropolitan Planning Organization:

The Policy Board of the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization will meet on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at the South Waco Community Center, 2815 Speight Avenue in Waco at 2:00 PM. This meeting will be open to the public. 

Policy Board members will consider actions regarding the MPO’s Unified Planning Work Program, 2022 Annual Project Listing (APL), and support for local applications for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) grants. The Policy Board will receive updates regarding the MPO’s Carbon Reduction Program Call for Proposals, a public agency “Listening Roundtable” and significant highway construction within the Waco Metropolitan Area. 

Members of the public must attend in person. Public comments will only be accepted in person, and the meeting link will not be posted online. The meeting room will be arranged for physical distancing of Board members, staff, and the public. 

The meeting agenda will be posted to the MPO website three (3) days prior to the meeting on the meeting calendar athttps://www.waco-texas.com/Departments/Metropolitan-Planning-Organization/Meetings. Please note our website format has changed, and you will need to scroll to the calendar and select the “PB” meeting for more information. 

Persons with disabilities who may need auxiliary aids or services should contact the MPO at 254-750-5650 at least twenty-four (24) hours before this meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made. 

Influential Women on MCC’s Campus

By Sarah Chavez
MCC Social Media and Communications Specialist

In March we celebrated Women’s History Month and reflected on the contributions women have made throughout history to our society and Waco community. While the month-long celebration is over, we will continue to celebrate their contributions and wanted to highlight some of the stories of influential women on the MCC campus who have changed the lives of many.  

Growing up in a small town like Palestine, Texas inspired MCC professor and NAACP president of Waco Chapter, Dr. Peaches Henry to value community and equality which led her to create programs dedicated to young women in STEM and social justice programs. 

During Henry’s elementary school days, her friends would run past and whisper to her that her dad was on campus. Her father prioritized her school’s community and showed up to the PTA meetings. Henry’s favorite memory is when her dad guaranteed her segregated elementary school was the first school in town to get air conditioning.

“My parents were involved in the NAACP. They instilled in me a desire to make sure that everyone had their rights. It came naturally to me because of my upbringing. I wanted to advocate on behalf of people. The NAACP is an organization that has been fighting for that for over a hundred years. I was inspired to become a part of that fight going forward,” Henry said. 

Henry’s “Hidden Figures” STEM project based on the inspiring book and film motivates and empowers middle school girls to learn engineering, technology, science, and math. Henry recently saw one of the students who took this class and the student told Henry about how the program made her realize she could go to college and major in science. 

“What we need to remember is that I may have impacted 50 or so girls, but each of those 50 girls will impact even more,” Henry said. 

MCC’s Director of Visual & Performing Arts, Lise Uhl’s life has been influenced and changed by music from listening to Ella Fitzgerald records in her childhood home, to transferring to a university in Ohio for a music program, to meeting her husband at the Waco Civic Theatre in the production of “Brigadoon”. 

This summer, Uhl will celebrate 43 years of working at MCC. She says the program’s growth is more than she could have expected. After establishing a real budget, the program turned around because they finally had the budget for productions and costumes.

“I mean, I just did what I had to do to make it go, to deliver the program. It went from little, tiny productions with pianos to full scale operas,” Uhl said. 

Extra time and effort from the theatre faculty is how the program thrived. Faculty helped with costumes and production sets with no credit or payment. She was thrilled and grateful for their willingness to put in extra time for the program. 

“At the time, these were the very best people in the world. They were not receiving any payment for it. They were doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I’m grateful to Danny Vamos for seeing that vision with me,” Uhl said.

Uhl hopes in the future the program will have a stronger relationship with four-year universities and create a music degree for students to continue their education at MCC. 

“We have a lot of students who come here for a music degree. They get their start here. They’re here for two years and that goes fast for them. Many of them are hesitant to move on because they’re so comfortable here. They like the way they are taught,” Uhl said.

These are just a few of the stories out of the many strong, influential women who have changed the lives of many at MCC and in the greater Waco community. 

Free Fit & Well Expo Saturday

Be Awesome Now and the Baylor Department of Wellness are partnering to sponsor the 2023 Fit & Well Expo 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the SUB Barfield Drawing Room on the Baylor campus. The event will feature the following:

– Nutrition tips with Regina Mastin, Baylor Counseling;

– Fitness tips with Kelvin Robinson, HighPower Fitness;

– Pain-free training tips with John Weldon, D.P.T., Well Done Physical Therapy;

– Self-love tips with Emily Field, Refit Waco;

– Understanding “tripledemic” risks with Benjamin Ryan, Ph.D., Baylor Environmental Science;

– Wholeness & balance tips with Jon Singletary, Ph.D., Baylor School of Social Work; and

– Somatic yoga with Bianca Davis, East Meets West Training.  

The Expo is free, and lunch will be included for the first 200 registrants. For more information and to register, click here.

Brazos Theatre Improv Comedy Camp for Teens

A fun way for teens to learn creativity, collaboration, and confidence!

Join the Brazos Theatre for a camp full of improvisation and performance! This improv intensive will help performers develop their expressiveness while learning to create strong characters in detailed situations. Participants will gain a deep understanding of the basics of building characters and stories. They will learn the elements of a good, improvised scene and develop a strong understanding of the principles of improvisation, building towards longer scenes and complex formats. Oh, and they’ll have tons of fun!

At the end of the session, students will perform in their very own show for friends and family! Improvisation helps actors with spontaneity, focus, being in the moment, comedic timing, and the collaborative creative process. Improvisation training is a key component to improving audition skills.

Lunch will be provided each day, culminating with a pizza lunch on Friday!

Each camp will be held from 8:30 am to 2:30 PM at the Brazos Theatre (doors will open at 8). After-camp hangout time until 5:15 can be added for an additional fee.

Camp Schedule:

High School Camp – July 25 thru 29
Showcase Performances – July 29 & 30 at 7:00

Middle School Camp – August 1 thru 5
Showcase Performances – August 5 at 7:00 and August 6 and 3:00

Register your student here!

City of Waco Cooling Center

WACO, TEXAS (July 6, 2022) – The City of Waco and Waco–McLennan County Office
of Emergency Management (OEM) will open a cooling center starting tomorrow through the
weekend to assist residents of Waco-McLennan County with relief from the heat. Cold bottles of
water and chairs will be provided.


July 7 – July 9
City of Waco Multipurpose Facility (1020 Elm Avenue)
12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
July 10
Sul Ross Community Center (1414 Jefferson Avenue)
12:00 p.m. – 7:00 pm

Lost in Waco: Summer Edition

What words would you use to describe summer in Waco? What pictures would capture its essence? A
special edition of the alternative magazine Lost In Waco, being released Thursday, aims to fill in some of
those blanks.


Since its debut in the spring of 2020, Lost in Waco magazine has striven to give a voice to authentic
Waco, working with local artists and writers to produce something all Wacoans could be proud off,
something for Waco, by Waco.


With three regular issues under its belt (two released during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic),
Founder and Editor Adam Moore was ready to do something a little different this summer.
“Honestly, it just sounded fun. I love the culture of zines,” Moore said. “And it sounded like something
that would fit well with a summer-themed edition.”


Like previous issues, the Summer Zine is made up of prose and poetry plus photography and art, all from
local contributors. The content captures the warm, golden melancholy of summer and offers some
observations very specific to the season in Waco. The Lost in Waco Summer Zine sets itself apart from regular issues through its distressed and DIY aesthetic, an intentional move.


“The entire issue was laid out physically on paper and then scanned for the final printing. It was a
completely different process than the other issues we’ve done for Lost in Waco,” Moore said. “Being
handmade, I think this issue offers a different kind of vibe than our previous issues. Part of what makes a
zine great is that it’s imperfect. I hope it pulls people in and gives them a little sense of a Waco summer
– both the magic of it and the imperfections.” There will be a smaller number of the Summer Zine available, so don’t wait around to snag a copy.

The best way to get a copy is to come to the release event on Thursday July 7 at 5:30p. at One Day. After
that, copies will be dropped off at some local businesses. Follow Lost In Waco on social media for more
information.

Caritas Feast of Caring

Caritas, a 55 year old Central Texas nonprofit organization whose goal is to move our community “beyond hunger to hope,” provides food, clothing and emergency case management services to those in need in Waco and the surrounding community. Caritas’ annual “Feast of Caring” will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 11, at the Waco Convention Center. The fun, family friendly event will feature a soup and dessert cook-off, silent and audible auctions and the popular “Souper Spoons” game.

Feast of Caring is Caritas’ major fundraising event of the year, featuring local restaurants and caterers who have prepared choice soups and desserts for guests who will sample the offerings then “vote” by donating $1 to their favorite. The highest number of donations will determine the winner and all the donations will support Caritas’ work in Central Texas.

Bring your family and friends and enjoy a fun evening while you sample incredible soups and desserts, bid on great auction items and win by playing Souper Spoons. Ten dollars enters you in the game for the chance to win gift cards ranging in value from $10 to $180. Everyone who enters is guaranteed to win at least a $10 gift card.

Tickets, $35 each, will be go on sale mid-August at can be purchased at FeastofCaring22.eventbrite.com

Call 254-753-4593 extension 205 with questions or if you’d like to participate, sponsor, donate or volunteer.

Caritas, originally founded in 1967 by the Austin Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, has functioned as an independent organization since 1979. Beginning in 2014, they implemented a Case Management Program which helped shift the nature of their work from “relief” to “development.” Direct giving has been replaced with promoting independence and self-reliance in the lives of clients.

Caritas’ emergency assistance programs are funded by many generous supporters and donors, fundraisers and “Hidden Treasures,” their two thrift stores, located at 3016 Bellmead Drive and 3912 Bosque Blvd. Hidden Treasures sells donated appliances, furniture, clothing and other household items.

Funds raised at Feast of Caring will help support Caritas as they provide services to our neighbors in need: an average of 2,500 families per month.

Nominations being accepted for MCC Distinguished Alumni, Distinguished Leader Awards

The McLennan Community College Foundation’s Highlander Alumni & Friends Association is accepting nominations through July 30 for its 2022 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Leader awards. Nomination forms for both awards are available online at www.mclennan.edu/foundation under “Quick Links and Forms.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an alumnus or alumna of MCC who has demonstrated a record of distinguished service and extraordinary achievement in a particular discipline, organization or cause that brings distinction to the College. To be eligible, nominees must have successfully completed a one-year certificate or two-year associate’s degree program, or have earned a minimum of 30 transferable hours (without a degree) from MCC.

The Distinguished Leader Award is presented to a 2022 graduating or completing student of MCC who has demonstrated a record of distinguished service and extraordinary achievement in academic and extracurricular realms, shown remarkable leadership or provided service to a cause that brings distinction to the College.

            The Highlander Alumni Association was established in 2008 as a division of the McLennan Community College Foundation and serves as the principal link between the college and its network of alumni and friends. Questions about the nomination process should be directed to the association at 254-299-8481 or [email protected].

STEM Fest!

STEMfest, Inspire Wonder in Waco
FREE community event, July 16
STEMfest Community Day
STEMfest Community Stroll

Stem Fest is happening July 16!

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is a method of hands-on teaching and learning where students learn to apply academic content by creatively solving real-world problems with innovative design-based thinking to prepare students for future career opportunities.

According to labor projections, Texas is expected to have the second-highest percentage of the nation’s future STEM job opportunities. To ensure our students are prepared for this future workforce, The Texas Education Agency has established the Texas EcosySTEM– a collaborative effort which unites various stakeholders to work towards the common goal of increasing access for young people to STEM-rich learning environments so that they are engaged and have mastered the necessary skills for success in STEM careers.

Learn More