Kingsville residents will find plenty to do around town with the annual Ranch Hand Weekend kicking off Friday evening and activities continuing through Sunday.

Ranch Hand Weekend begins Friday evening with the annual Christmas tree and downtown lighting at the 1904 Train Depot Museum, located at 102 E. Kleberg Ave. in Downtown Kingsville.

The event starts at 6 p.m. with Christmas carols performed by the Presbyterian Pan-American boys choir, and attendees will be treated to complimentary hot cocoa, coffee and cookies.

Downtown merchants will be open late for visitors to browse and shop, with many stores featuring holiday-themed window decorations and displays.

The event will also include a Texas A&M University-Kingsville senior art student exhibition inside the Kleberg Bank and an opening reception to unveil  the Kingsville Main Street Art Project, consisting of seven art sculptures in the Downtown Kingsville area.

The tree lighting will begin after sundown, followed by a live acoustic set from country singer and songwriter Lauren Corzine.

Beginning early Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. will be the 29th annual Ranch Hand Breakfast, held on the King Ranch. Started in 1990, the breakfast is the only time of the year the public is allowed to drive inside the gates of the King Ranch.

Once at the arena, attendees can enjoy an authentic cowboy breakfast featuring eggs, refried beans, biscuits and gravy, sausage and tortillas, all for $6 per plate.

During the Ranch Hand Breakfast, visitors will find a variety of ranching demonstrations, team roping, live music and cowboy poetry and storytelling.

After breakfast, attendees are encouraged to head to Downtown Kingsville for the eighth annual Ranch Hand Festival, featuring a variety of vendors, live music, food, games and other activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival includes a Kids’ Corral area with activities geared toward children of all ages. The Kids’ Corral will include an archery turkey shoot, face painting, inflatable games, carnival games and arts and crafts activities.

For car enthusiasts, the third annual Ranch Hand Roundup Truck and Car Show will also take place during the festival. Classic cars, trucks, low riders and motorcycles will line E. Kleberg Ave. in the morning with winners announced Saturday afternoon.

At TAMUK’s Jones Auditorium on Saturday, the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra will conduct a special Ranch Hand Weekend concert beginning at noon. The concert will include a mix of country western music and holiday classics, along with other selections.

Tickets are priced between $10-30 depending on seating and can be purchased at the door or online at kingsvillesymphony.org.

Saturday’s activities conclude with a benefit concert at the J.K. Northway Coliseum located at 501 E. Escondido Rd. inside Kleberg Park beginning at 7 p.m.

This year’s concert is headline by certified-platinum country singer Mark Chesnutt, with opening act performances from country artists Felix Truvere and Lauren Corzine.

General admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and can be purchased at ranchhandweekend.com, the Kingsville Visitor Center at 1501 N. Hwy 77 or at Bray’s Smokehouse at 1500 Brahma Blvd. Ticket and sponsorship proceeds benefit the Kingsville Independent School District Education Foundation.

Closing out Ranch Hand Weekend on Sunday will be a special Cowboy Church Service beginning at 10 a.m. at the J.K. Northway Coliseum. Pastor Chris Sprenger with the Coastal Bend Cowboy Fellowship will conduct the service.

Following the church service will be ranch rodeo starting at 1 p.m. featuring a variety of five-man team events, including steer tying, calf branding, trailer loading and steer doctoring.

For more information on Ranch Hand Weekend, visit ranchhandweekend.com.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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