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LOCAL WONDERS


12/16/2014 10:03 AM Posted By: TWC News Staff
TWC News: Elgin Christmas Tree Farm: 'It's Really About Families'
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The Elgin Christmas Tree Farm is a choose-and-cut farm.

"Hay rides take them out to the field and drop them off, and once they're out there, they're just free to roam about, pick the tree they want, cut it down," farm owner Marc Nash said.

Randy Burt and his family said picking the perfect tree took a little while.

"We walked pretty much from one end to the other," he said. "You try to circle back around to one you think you liked before, but then you find a different one, so eventually we all just say, 'Yeah, that's a good one.'"

The farm also has animals to visit, mazes to go through and a playscape and hay bail mountain for children to play on.

"So just a lot of stuff for families to do," Nash said. "Good quality family time while they're getting their Christmas tree."

The Elgin Christmas tree farm is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

"It's really about families," Nash said. "Giving them an opportunity to get out and do this other stuff together and build these memories together."


12/09/2014 12:12 PM Posted By: TWC News Staff
TWC News: New Braunfels Kicks Off Holidays with Wassailfest
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Each year, the city of New Braunfels kicks off the holiday season with a time-honored European tradition: Wassailfest.

The festival is a celebration of the famous spiced apple cider drink wassail, which festival organizer Amy McWhorter says "is a traditional European holiday beverage."

"Our secret ingredient is apple cider. You've got to use the cider, not the juice," said vendor Teresa Hendon, whose cider has placed among the top ciders each of the last five years.

Vendor Jim Hawkins, who's placed first and second in the last two years, says when it comes to his wassail, it's quality — and a secret recipe — that matters.

"We understand that quality counts when people drink wassail," Hawkins said.

Find out more in the "Local Wonders" video above.


12/02/2014 07:45 AM Posted By: TWC News Staff
TWC News: Down Home Ranch
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Jerry Horton and his wife started Down Home Ranch after the birth of their fourth daughter, Kelly, who has Down syndrome.

"We did all the research we could on Down syndrome and then wanted to know what happens to our daughter when she grows up," Horton said. "When we started looking out in the world, we were disappointed in what we saw and said, 'We can do better.'"

Now 29, Kelly is one of the 32 ranchers with an intellectual disability who works and lives at Down Home Ranch.

"We consider ourself a community of opportunity," Horton said. "They have the opportunity to learn things and master things and take pride in their work and in their lives."

Horton says Down Home Ranch has about 30 full-time staff, 20 part-time staff and is always in need of more volunteers.

Find out more about Down Home Ranch in the "Local Wonders" segment above.


11/14/2014 10:39 AM Posted By: TWC News Staff
TWC News: Dancing With the Best at The Broken Spoke
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Now flanked on both sides by new condominiums, South Austin’s The Broken Spoke is still known for its dance floor and the classic Honky Tonk acts it hosts.

In the video above, hear from the dancehall’s owner James White about the institution’s history.


11/04/2014 03:34 PM Posted By: TWC News Staff
TWC News: Crowe's Nest Farm Works to Teach Kids Where Food Comes From
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Many schoolchildren have no idea where their food comes from, but one local nonprofit is working to change that.

"We're a children's educational farm dedicated to fostering appreciation, knowledge and wise stewardship of the agricultural and wildlife resources of Texas," said David Williams, the executive director of Crowe's Nest Farm.

Crowe's Nest Farm educates almost 40,000 children each year.

"It's a place for kids to get connected with nature and understand a little bit more about where their food comes from," he said.

Most of the animals at the farm were orphaned, neglected or abused and in need of a home, so Crowe's Nest also functions as a sanctuary.

"We take them in; it works out great," Williams said. "The kids get a chance to learn about them up close."

If you would like to see the animals in person, Crowe's Nest Farm is hosting family tour days on Saturdays throughout November. For more information, check out their website, CrowesNestFarm.org.




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