Among the many Christmas activities around the Highland Lakes last weekend were two excellent variations of the traditional Nutcracker ballet: The Story of the Nutcracker (pictured above), presented at Burnet High School by Studio 29 Dance Centre and the BHS Highlandettes drill team, and The Nutcracker’s Gifts of Christmas, presented at Marble Falls High School by Harmony School of Creative Arts. The Wildflower Dance Studio will present its own version of the Nutcracker at Llano High School on Saturday (two shows, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.), December 16 & 17. For more Nutcracker pictures from last weekend, see pages 8 & 9. You can check out the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page for many more photos from the Nutcracker shows and other events in our busy neighborhood.
The Globe Theatre was built during Bertram’s heyday, before World War II, when the thriving town served as a commercial center for hundreds of surrounding ranchers, when trains came through town every day, and when Vaughan Street was Texas Highway 29. Zachery Hamilton and Lance Regier are hoping that restoring the old building will also restore some of the pride and excitement that led to its construction in 1935.
It was at a contentious January town meeting, convened to discuss the possible sale of beer in Bertram, that R.W. McFarlin mentioned that he had been to Lampasas to meet with a successful theater owner, and believed that the town of Bertram could support a “modern talking picture show.” Twenty-four of the town’s leading citizens expressed an interest in investing a total of $4,000 to get the project started, and a follow-up meeting was held in February to consider possible locations for a theater.
Kingsland is a small, unincorporated community in perhaps the most beautiful valley in Texas. Surrounded by beautiful hills, including legendary Packsaddle Mountain, and embraced by the Llano and Colorado River Arms of constant-level Lake LBJ, Kingsland boasts miles and miles of the state’s most sought-after lakefront property.
People have always wanted to come to Kingsland. Archaeological evidence shows that for thousands of years before Martin King bequeathed his name to the scenic valley, Native Americans had regularly visited the banks of the Llano and Colorado Rivers. A Spanish explorer named Bernardo de Miranda led a party of 23 treasure-hunters down the Llano River to “Kingsland” in 1756, and intermittent attempts were made to find gold, silver and iron in the area. But for more than a century after Miranda’s visit, the rugged hills and fierce inhabitants kept all but the most adventurous away from this remarkable place “where rivers flow and bluebonnets grow.”.
Bluebonnets grow all over central Texas, and many towns might claim to have the most beautiful crop in any given spring. But thanks to a Fort Worth native and a few “friends in high places,” Burnet has the official title of “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.” And partly because of that title, Burnet has probably the best smalltown festival in the Texas Hill Country.
Charles Brinkley married a Burnet native (Faye Hoover) and moved to Burnet in 1968. The couple had four children, and became very much involved in the community. Trying to “give Burnet something to be proud of,” Brinkley began working through the local 4-H to have Burnet designated as the state’s bluebonnet capital. “When people think of roses, they think of Tyler,” he says. “I wanted them to think of Burnet when they thought of bluebonnets.” The 4-H distributed packets of bluebonnet seeds in an attempt to fill Burnet with bluebonnets..
"I'm not so sure that I believed in miracles," says board president Karen Vincent, "until I saw them happening at the Open Door Recovery House." Founder and manager Paula Mays agrees. "God still works miracles," she says emphatically. "I see it all the time right here."
Mays herself is a poster child for the miraculous; she had a "horrific" childhood, and the Open Door Recovery House is named for a shelter where she sought refuge as an abused teen. For years, she was caught in the downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and despair, but God changed her life through the attitudes and actions of Christian friends she now calls "bricks in my foundation.".
Living in Romania was something that Dennis and Swanna Lofton had “never contemplated” as theconstruction worker/musician and teacher from Corpus Christisettled into comfortable careers with the telephone company (then GTE, now Verizon) and raised two sons.They moved to Kingsland in 1999; here, Swanna began teaching in the Llano school system and Dennis served as a worship leader at local churches, most recently at Packsaddle Fellowship. He retired from Verizon last April.
The first inkling of their future mission came in 2000, when a couple from First Baptist Church in Kingsland shared their experience of placing shoes on children’s feet while on a Bucker International “Shoes for Orphan Souls” mission trip. “I knew then,” says Swanna, “that I wanted to go to Romania.”.
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