Bridge2Health Program

The Bridge2Health Program is aimed at reducing the burden of obesity and chronic diseases in Waco-McLennan County to improve population health and quality of life. The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District will be offering two free classes starting in February to promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease among community members, Health 360 and Create Better Health. 

Starting February 10th, classes are every Thursday from 6-7 pm via zoom.

Sign Up Now

Health 360 is a 1-year class for people that are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes to help them prevent or delay Type 2 Diabetes through nutrition and physical activity. Health 360 starts on February 8th and will meet every Tuesday with two session options, 1-2PM and 6-7PM.

Create Better Health is a 16-week class that helps people gain the skills to be active and eat healthy on a budget.


Sign Up Now

If you have any questions call: 254-750-5435

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Waco

Monday, January 17th, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This marks the anniversary of the federal day of service and celebrates the legacy of the great civil rights leader. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.”  MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” Our community can take this unique opportunity to bring people from all walks of life together to listen, learn, serve, and act locally.

Friday, January 14 

35th Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park- 300 MLK Blvd.

The 35th annual wreath laying ceremony will be a virtual event this year because of the recent COVID-19 surge. Individuals may place a wreath at the monument anytime from January 14 through January 17. Please adhere to City of Waco social distancing guidelines and health protocols. 

Monday, January 17

MLK Day of Service – Baylor Campus

Sponsored by Missions and Public Life

Bobo Spiritual Life Center (Parking lot at the corner of S. 5th Street and James Ave., Waco, Texas) 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Virtual service projects and a drive-thru collection site. Visit website for donation list.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Day of Service to help out the Good Neighbor House 

Hosted by Sanger Heights at 23rd & Colcord 

Help them complete various projects including light painting, light constructions tasks, some deep cleaning around the house, yardwork, and various other projects. Please review the available slots and sign up.

25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March & Observance

Hosted by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Delta Upsilon Zeta and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Gamma Omicron Sigma.

Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. & Elm Ave at 9:00 a.m.

Guest Speaker Chief of Police, Sheryl Victorian. For more information and to RSVP, please visit bit.ly/wacomlkmarch.

Mayborn Community Day 

Spend MLK day at the Mayborn Museum, 1300 S University Parks Dr

Open Monday at 10 a.m. for free!  

Community Day is a perfect opportunity to explore the Discovery Center, Natural History Hall, and Historic Village.

MLK Day of Service 

Hosted by Mission Waco / Jubilee Theatre 1319 N. 15th Street, Waco, Texas 

10:30-11:45 am: Performances and speakers.

12-1 pm: Pastor Panel Discussion – Lunch is FREE and provided by World Cup Cafe. No need to register for the morning OR the lunch programming.

Youth meet separately. Email [email protected] if you have teenagers interested in joining. Lunch is also FREE!

1:15-3:30 pm: Community Serving Projects:  If you’re interested in signing up a group to serve in the afternoon please fill out the google form

36th Annual Candlelight Vigil

6:00 PM

A candlelight vigil will also be held virtually. To obtain a link for the event, email [email protected]

Olive Door Imports Grand Opening

Waco is proud to welcome Olive Door Imports to the Downtown scene. Located at 924 Austin Ave, Olive Door Imports store sells 17th-18th century furniture with a story. Each piece is hand-selected from Europe – places like Denmark, Brussels, Hungary, and other eastern European locations. Owner Shelley Gay says opening the store was a dream 20 years in the making. She chose Waco as the ideal location after a falling in love with the community on a weekend visit. Shelley’s goal is to offer affordable, artistic furniture for the creative who wants to make their space truly their own. According to Shelley, these are “pieces you may not have seen before and may never see again”. 


We’d love to see you at the Grand Opening happening January 15th from 6-9 pm! This isn’t your ordinary grand opening: January 15th will also feature stunning artwork by DVLVD LLC. If this name sounds familiar, you may remember an art expo hosted at Cultivate 712 in 2020 or seen any of the DVLVD mural paintings throughout town (the most recent work being the Cactus Rose face, the interior of Milo All day, and the mural on the Dr. Pepper Museum). DVLVD (pronounced Devolved) is a mural and design group based in Waco, TX. The team includes Cade Kegerreis, Cole Henry, Kyle Antis & Kaleb Antis. They specialize in hand-painted works that range from large-scale public art projects to small business storefronts. Founded in 2020, their mission is to bring forward the art of empowered artists to the public. Waco is so pleased to have this team of artists dedicated to unity, diversity and connection. For more information, you can visit their Instagram page @dvlvdmurals or visit the website www.dvlvd.com


Mark your calendars for this awesome grand opening on Saurday, January 15th – you won’t want to miss it! Art from DVLVD will continue to show through the end of February. Olive Door Imports hopes to feature the work of artists at shows every 6 weeks. Shelley, Brooks, and the team look forward to meeting you and the rest of the Waco community.

NYE “Safe Ride Home” Program by Waco Transit System

FREE SAFE RIDES HOME ON NEW YEAR’S EVE!

Call now to schedule your FREE ride to and/or from your NYE destination!

Same-day requests accepted (based upon availability)
For those needing an unexpected safe ride, Tow King also partners with us to offer free vehicle tows
home. Vehicle tows can be arranged by calling Tow King directly at (254) 666-5484.
The idea behind Safe Ride Home is to support responsible drinking and, ultimately, save lives. Our goal
is simple… to keep the streets of Waco safe on New Year’s Eve. If even one life is spared because
someone chose to secure a safe ride home, then our purpose was accomplished.

Safe Ride Home was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Ben E. Keith Company and
donations from Subway and Chuy’s.

Brazos Theatre Chair Campaign

New Year, New Chairs!

New, comfortable, and sturdy chairs for YOU
We’re saving you a seat, and here’s your chance to name it!
Be a part of the Brazos Theatre chair campaign! Our theater is in desperate need of new chairs (IYKYK!!). And this is a great opportunity to give you, your business, or someone you love a permanent marker at the Brazos. Your name, a sentiment, anniversary date, or the name of another person you wish to honor will be engraved on a plaque placed on the back of every theatre seat you sponsor! Sponsorship opportunities start at just $65. Get all the info here!
Help make the Brazos Theatre a more comfortable space for you and your fellow theater goers in 2022 and beyond!

Upcoming Events at Brazos Theatre

NEW YEAR’S DAY IMPROV COMEDY SHOW!
Saturday, January 1st
7:30 PM (Doors open 7:00)

What better way to bring in a new year?? Come join us for a very special and very funny night! And this first show of 2022 is HALF PRICE! There’s no one we’d rather start this year off with than our wonderful patrons – old and new! Get tickets by clicking here!

Comedy at the Brazos
A Stand Up Comedy Showcase
Saturday, January 15th
8:00 PM (Doors open 7:30)

Dallas comedian Paul Smith will join us to host some of Central Texas’ (and beyond!) brightest comedic talent. BYOB, and our snack bar will be open. Doors open at 7:30pm for General Admission seating. Tickets available soon! Rated: R

The Office Trivia Night
Saturday, January 22nd
7:30 PM (Doors open 7:00)

Relive some of your favorite moments from the television show The Office in pub style trivia challenges. Build a team of 2-6 members and get signed up soon! Space for this event is limited. Sign up by clicking here. Prizes for the first place team and costume contest winners!

2021 Posada + Tamale Festival

Event Details

The Cultural Committee of the Hispanic Leaders’ Network has been meeting over the past few weeks to plan a community event for all. This year will be their first annual Posada and Tamale Competition! Las Posadas is a traditional event celebrated by many Hispanic countries on the 9 days leading up to Christmas—join them for food, music, and fun for all ages! There will be a cash prize for Waco’s Best Tamal!

Where: South Waco Recreation Center, 2815 Speight Ave.

When: December 18, 3-6 PM


Event Information: First Annual Posada & Tamale Competition | Facebook

What are Las Posadas?

Posada comes from the Spanish word for “lodging”. During the Christmas season it is a 9 day celebration prior to Christmas Day that commemorates the Nativity story.

Where is Las Posadas celebrated?

It is celebrated chiefly in Latin America including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, Spain and by Latinos in the US. For example, there is a big Las Posadas celebration in San Antonio, Texas each year.

In Mexico, it has been celebrated for over 400 years starting in 1586.

Does it have a relationship to Indigenous culture?

Yes! According to the Aztec Calendar, Tonantzin Guadalupe (the mother of the gods) was celebrated on the winter solstice, while their most important deity, the sun god Huitzilopochtli, was born during the month of December (panquetzaliztli). The parallel in time between this native celebration and the celebration of Christmas lent itself to an almost-seamless merging of the two holidays.

What does Las Posadas involve?

Usually, there is a re-enactment where 2 people dress up as Mary and Joseph. Certain houses are designated to be “inns”; the head of the procession carries a candle inside a paper shade. They can be followed by attendants such as angels and shepherds and are followed by musicians. Children carry poinsettias.

The actors travel to one house each night for nine nights. At each house, the resident responds by singing a song and the pair are recognized and allowed to enter.

At the end of each night, Christmas carols are sung, children break open pinatas and everyone sits for a feast.

May be an image of text that says 'HISPANIC LEADERS' NETWORK Serving the Greater Waco Community'

Why is Hispanic Leaders’ Network sponsoring this event?

HLN wants to help create spaces where Latinos in Waco can celebrate their culture and welcome the greater Waco Community to learn and be enriched by the diversity and inclusivity our city.

Granny Basketball

There’s a new women’s basketball team in town and they are practicing at the South Waco Community Center. The Waco Six Shooters have just been approved as a team by the national Granny Basketball® League, ”A gentle game for women of a certain age.”

Granny Basketball began in Iowa in 2005 when a group of women discovered they could get exercise and have some fun following the 1920s rules for women’s play. The league has grown to 40+ teams nationwide with 5 teams in Texas, including the newly accepted Six Shooters.

Kay H. Wilson, with the help of Wilma Figueroa, started the Six Shooters after attending the Harker Heights Old Glories practice. “I had such a blast,” Kay said, “I knew I had to try to start a team in Waco. I am so glad we got the response we did. And am so grateful for the friendly help of our home court at South Waco Community Center.”

The Six Shooters chose their name from Waco’s history; in the wild west days, Waco was often referred to as Six Shooter Junction because of its rowdy reputation. Individual teams are recognized by the color of their socks. The Six Shooters chose green as their color to pay homage to their hometown Baylor Bears. Granny basketball uniforms are straight from the ‘20s, pantaloons and all.

The organization currently has seven women practicing with the team, but the Six Shooters welcome all women 50 and over who are interested in joining the fun. Some of the women on the team played high school and/or college ball, some have played recreationally, and some have not played at all. Player/coach, Linda Gilliam said, “I am excited to be back on the court and if you think you are too old or out of shape, guess again. It’s fun and exciting.”

Karen Szabo, who is new to Waco, said, “I’m excited to play and glad to compete and experience the camaraderie within our team and meet new players across Texas.”

Anyone interested in joining or observing the Six Shooters can stop by the South Waco Community Center, 2815 Speight Avenue on Tuesdays at 10am.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email the ALW team — [email protected].

Waco Lions Park poised for revitalization with community support

By City of Waco staff

The City of Waco, Lions Park Trust Board, and many community partners are pleased to announce the revitalization of Waco’s beloved treasure, Lions Park, at 1716 N. 42nd St. John Tipton, immediate past president of the Waco Founder Lion’s Club and a member of the Lions Park Trust Board, said they are interested in a larger partnership that will allow for planning, revitalization, and most importantly, a continuation of this special park venue for children.

“We are grateful for our patrons, volunteers, and the entire community’s support of Lions Park over the years and look forward to the next phase in partnership with the City of Waco and other community organizations. The future of Lions Park is bright,” said Tipton.

According to City Manager Bradley Ford, while the park will temporarily close to undergo a strategic planning and rebuilding process, the City of Waco anticipates committing $2 million to ensure the brightest future for Lions Park.

Lions Park was established in 1952 by the Waco Lions as a unique and popular place for children. Volunteers and community organizations, such as the Junior League of Waco, have donated hundreds of hours and resources to the park.

“Lions Park is a unique place for families to gather, and I’m excited we have the opportunity to reimagine this park so it continues to be the community asset it has been for nearly 70 years,” said Mayor Dillon Meek. “Our community remains deeply grateful to the Waco Lions for building and maintaining this unique family treasure over the years. I also want to assure the children of Waco that while adults will be involved in the planning process, we will certainly include our young people for help with the design and amenity selection. After all, this park is for the children of our community.”

In 2018, Waco Foundation convened a group of partners interested in the park and ultimately commissioned a survey receiving more than 2,000 responses. Results of the survey were overwhelmingly positive when asked about the park’s value to the community. Additionally, many indicated a desire to support the park by donating time, money, and input.    

“The survey allowed us to better understand how the community feels about Lions Park,” said McLennan County Judge Scott Felton. “It is crystal clear that the park is not only a valued place for entertainment but a true gathering spot for families across Waco that spans generations. I am just one of many grandfathers who brought my children and grandchildren to the park for a one-of-a-kind experience in McLennan County. Now we have the chance to revitalize this community asset to make sure Wacoans now and into the future will be able to enjoy everything it has to offer.”

Activities at the nearby BASE facility will complement the park and enhance visitor and resident experience. Wes Allison, president and CEO of Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo, is interested in the future of the park, as well. “As our neighboring campus continues to expand with new facilities like the BASE at Extraco Events Center, it is really helpful to know how important Lions Park is to our community. The HOT Fair & Rodeo has wide-ranging experience with family entertainment and attractions, and so we will look for ways to partner and provide our expertise in future plans.”

The immediate future of Lions Park includes continued meetings of community partners, site plans, and community fundraising. All plans will be designed to preserve the Waco Lions’ intent and the final project will remain affordable and relevant for Waco families.

Community members interested in learning more, receiving updates, and potentially contributing to the future of the park should sign up for updates at lionsparkwaco.com.

Community partners that participated in initial convening:

  • Waco Lions International
  • Waco Foundation
  • Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo
  • Junior League of Waco
  • McLennan County
  • City of Waco
  • Waco City Council
  • United Waco
  • Waco City Council
  • United Way of Waco-McLennan County
  • Rotary Club of Waco
  • Baylor University
  • Waco Parks and Recreation 

Dr Pepper Museum to mark 30th anniversary

The Dr Pepper Museum in Waco marks its 30th anniversary in May. It is “one of the
largest nonprofit museums devoted to telling the story of the soft drink industry and preserving
Dr Pepper history,” said a release from museum.

The Museum opened in May 1991 and has grown from the vision of a few devoted enthusiasts to now attracting more than 2 million visitors. “Thank you to the Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau and KDP Waco Distribution for their generous support,” the release said.

Chris Dyer, museum president & CEO, and the Board of Directors said: “We have achieved
this milestone through the hard work and dedication of our staff and our culture of customer
service that exists throughout the entire organization. We have dedicated ourselves to 30 years
of educating and entertaining our visitors with the history of the soft drink industry, and through
that example, the free enterprise economic system. On this anniversary, we will take time to look
at where we started, what we have achieved, and what our plans are for the future.”

Three events are planned as part of the celebration.

FIZZY FRIDAY
Be sure to book your spot for the next Fizzy Friday at 6-8 p.m. May 7. Test your taste buds and enjoy a birthday-themed flight of specialty sodas. The gift shop and old-fashioned soda fountain will stay open late to let all visitors have a chance to shop after-hours.

WHERE- Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute
East Wing Building
300 South 5th St., Waco
COST – $12 per birthday-themed flight
Limit 6 people per group
No admission required

$2 ADMISSION DAY
Visit the Museum Saturday, May 8, for $2 admission (just like when it opened in May 1991).
You can explore the exhibits, book a Make-A-Soda or Taste-A-Soda experience, get your
Dr Pepper gear from the gift shop, and get a treat at the old-fashioned soda fountain.
This will be the last day for museum visitors to enter to win a year’s supply of Dr Pepper,
sponsored by KDP Waco Distribution.

WHEN – Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
WHERE – Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute
300 South 5th St. Waco
COST – $2 general admission

TORNADO ANNIVERSARY
May 11 is the official anniversary of the museum and the anniversary of the destructive 1953
Waco tornado. It seemed only fitting that these two important events in Waco’s history should be
entwined. Visit the museum to celebrate Waco’s history and to remember those who lost their
lives in the tornado, an exhibition opened on the first floor featuring photographs, videos, and
stories of those involved. On this day the two winners of the year supply of Dr Pepper will be
announced.

WHEN – Tuesday, May 11, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
WHERE – Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute
300 South 5th St.
COST – General Admission

Camelia: A New Play in Search of a Stage in Waco

By Trent Sanders

(You can learn more about “Epiphanies” a new works festival being staged by Wild Imaginings, in Trent Sutton’s blog post from last week. – ALW)

I first heard about Trent and his theatre company, Wild Imaginings, in a funny sort of way. Luann Jennings, founding artist of InSite theatre company in Waco, had invited me to co-direct a show. I accepted, and her welcome to me went, “You’re Trent 2.0.” I thought, “Like Tosh?”  To say the least, this name intrigued me. Trent Sutton had directed shows in Waco for a number of years and had recently formed his own company. I wondered under what circumstances I would meet Trent 1.0. All this took place in early 2020, before the shutdowns.

Eighteen months earlier, in October 2018, my wife, three-month old son, and I had moved to Romania. The U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs had awarded me a Fulbright Creative Arts and Performance grant. My stated purpose was to study and write a play about Romanian Christian exiles fleeing the threat of the Romanian Communist Party. Ironically, a year later, in September 2019, I learned that many of these people had moved to the U.S.  Some of you may have heard of Lucy Lupu. She and her husband, Petru, have a harrowing story of escape by night. Yet, for my purposes, a different and significant batch of Romanians were still living in Romania.

I told Trent 1.0 all this after the last performance of InSite’s Shakespeare mashup, “Law and Order.” He was kind enough to listen with enthusiasm, then asked me what I did instead. Enter Camelia.

The play is her namesake and her song. She sings of her family, their flight from murderers coming from the East, their saga as refugees, and their multi-generational fight against a broken system. She sings of Romania. Camelia Doru was born in Călimănești – a small village in the Transylvanian Alps. There, she spent her formative years listening to the conversations of many, now famous, Romanian literary dissidents, who were sent there, on the Romanian Communist Party’s dime, to write propaganda (though they never did). She sets out on a journey, armed with her wit against the darkness, to redeem her own history, and by extension, Romania’s.

Trent 1.0 did that sort of frown you do when you hear something you like but have nothing else to add. I said one more thing. 

While interviewing Camelia, she mentioned a summit she had attended in 1991. She went on to say the Rockefeller Foundation had summoned the world’s leading torture experts there. He was caught off guard – there are torture experts? Yep. I continued. They met in order to create a tactical map to end torture. Over the course of a week, they mapped out the terrible constellation of torture. Amazed, I asked her if she had a copy. She then rolled out a 100 square foot map. At the center of this nearly invisible universe is the torturer and the victim.

This might sound thought out, but the play was in rough shape when I first showed it to Trent 1.0. He and I both agreed that, in its current form, it had no place in Waco, likely not in Texas, and just a sliver of a chance in the U.S. It was too symbolic. Romanians love that sort of thing, but not so much the Americans.

He prompted me to form it around a question, then to rewrite it according to the question. After that, the play returned to some semblance of its roots. It had begun as an oral history – with me sitting down in Camelia’s office in Bucharest. Asking her questions. Listening. Later on, transcribing. After some thought, I began to ask two big questions: Is her story about how to redeem history? – At least, a kind of redemption in continuum? Is religion somehow involved?

In any case, he asked me to submit the play for his company’s festival, so I did. By April, he informed me that it had been one of eight chosen for a table reading. Fast forward into early May, Trent 1.0 and the actors had done a remarkable job reading and responding to the script. After three hours of this via zoom, I had a great air of confidence for the revisions that lay ahead. And I knew what symbolism to get rid of and how. Camelia’s world, literally closed off to the West until 1989 because of the Iron Curtain, and literarily closed off to the West until June 2020 because of my bad writing – was now readily accessible. I hope it lets you get her. I hope her wit gets you.

But you be the judge on Saturday October 24 at 6:30 PM when Camelia begins streaming. You can purchase a ticket to the festival by clicking here. The cost is $15.

I almost forgot to mention two more things. The problem with faith (and herein lies its power) is that it is incarnational. Culture, place, and era embody it. In Camelia, you will see this conflict: an irreligious woman, encountering godless problems, all while facing God. Is anything out of his purview?

That being so, Camelia loves democracy – the American kind – and I think that shines through. If you love democracy, this is a play for you. If you want to be a part of a conversation about a more perfect union, this play is a great conversation starter.

Peace be with you.


Trent Sanders holds two degrees (B.A. and M.A.) in literature and criticism. After completing his studies, he spent a year studying and making theatre on a Fulbright in Romania. He is currently the playwright in residence at Baylor’s Institute for Oral History.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.