The 27th annual Wassailfest will feature a blend of old and new Thursday in the annual downtown celebration that is part of the city’s observance of the holiday season.

Amy McWhorter, city downtown development coordinator, said the city is partnering with the Greater New Braunfels Arts Council to blend caroling and music into this year’s event.

“We’re calling it the Wassailfest and Community Sing-Along, she said of the format, which combines GNBAC’s annual Caroling on the Plaza, which for years was a separate event that featured the audience singing Christmas carols to music performed on the gazebo.

“We’ll have singing and other performances in multiple locations throughout the festival,” she said. “They will be passing out music and lyrics so people can sing along with the caroling.”

More than 100,000 twinkling lights in the downtown area will serve as the backdrop for this year’s Wassailfest, where residents will sample varieties of wassail offered by downtown businesses and nonprofits along Main Plaza, San Antonio Street and Seguin Avenue.

New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel will proclaim the first wassail toast at the Main Plaza bandstand at 6 p.m. Over the next three hours, visitors will tour more than 30 stops of downtown venues dishing up leaded and unleaded versions of wassail, German cider-based warm drink served in small cups. 

Residents will vote for the best recipes in the Wassail-Meister contest, with the top three winners honored during a January city council meeting. Several nonprofits will operate several food stands around the plaza. Commemorative mugs, $10 each, will be available at the Wassailfest information booth and mug sales trailer on Main Plaza. 

New Braunfels police will begin closing these downtown streets beginning at 4 p.m.: East San Antonio Street to the closed Comal River bridge and West San Antonio Street to Academy Avenue; Seguin Avenue and Castell Avenue from Coll Street to Mill Street, and Academy from West San Antonio Street to West Mill Street.

Parking will be available at New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center, 375 S. Castell Ave.; the city Municipal Building at 424 S. Castell Ave.; the Comal County tax office lot at East Mill Street and North Castell Avenue; the county’s elections center lot at 396 N. Seguin Ave.; the new lot at the corner of East Bridge Street and North Seguin Avenue; and parking lots adjacent to the former Chase Bank at West Coll Street and South Castell Avenue. 

Also, angled parking slots will be available along Hill Avenue between East Coll Street and West San Antonio Street and outside of the fenced area for Fire Station No. 1 at 169 S. Hill Ave. 

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