2021 is finally here and with it comes a myriad of exciting events and endeavors for Abilene. Despite being in a global pandemic, there is still a lot to look forward to. Check out some of what’s to come this year:

ICYMI: Abilene’s top 10 positive stories of 2020

  • Top things to look forward to in 2021
  • COVID-19 vaccine available to the public
  • Recovery
  • Events return to Abilene
  • Continued growth of the SoDA District
  • Continued growth of Downtown Abilene
  • Park improvements
  • Road improvements
  • Continued growth at Taylor County Expo Center
  • Work continues to bring the B-21 to Dyess AFB
  • COVID-19 vaccine available to the public

    Already, thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed to frontline workers. As more doses are received, the general public will be able to receive the vaccine in 2021. With more people getting the vaccine, health officials signal this could be the end of the pandemic.


    Sadly 2020 was not a great year for hardly anyone. As the COVID-19 vaccination becomes more widely available, recovery is now in view. With more stimulus money and more PPP loans, businesses and people will hopefully be able to stay afloat.

    Events return to Abilene

    Despite many of the Key City’s signature events being canceled in 2020, organizations are putting their best feet forward to host 2021 events. This includes the 51st Annual West Texas REHAB Telethon, Outlaws and Legends, the CALF (Children’s Art and Literacy Festival,) among others.

    51st Annual West Texas REHAB Telethon:

    Rehab 2021 Telethon & Auction

    WTRC is a non-profit outpatient organization offering physical, occupational, and speech therapy for both adult and pediatric patients, along with hearing and balance, orthotics and prosthetics, Hospice, Pacesetters, family support services, and employer services.

    The 51st Annual Telethon & Auction will be live at the Abilene Convention Center or by tuning in virtually through a live stream of the evening events.

    WHEN: Jan 23, 2021, from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am
    For more information click here.

    Outlaws and Legends

    The rescheduled 10th Annual Outlaws & Legends Music Fest, benefiting Ben Richey Boys Ranch, returns to the Back Porch of Texas. Outlaws & Legends. Featuring the biggest line-up including: Willie Nelson, Randy Houser, Kevin Fowler, Deana Carter, Lee Roy Parnell, Charley Crockett, The Great Divide, Cooder Graw, Jamie Richards, Mike & The Moonpies.

    ***All tickets, passes and packages purchased for the 2020 event will be honored at the rescheduled 10th Anniversary Festival.

    WHEN: March 19-20, 2021.

    For more information click here.

    Children’s Art and Literacy Festival

    The 9th annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival celebrating the summer artist on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature is a two and a half day event where books come to life.

    Enjoy fun activities at nearly 20 venues in downtown Abilene as we celebrate the books and characters of Loren Long. Registration opens in February at www.abilenecalf.com

    WHEN: Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM

    Continued growth of the SoDA District

    The area South of Downtown Abilene, now affectionately dubbed the SoDA District, continues to experience extraordinary growth. Entrepreneurs have taken this seemingly forgotten section of town and made it a hub for unique spaces and hangouts. Despite 2020 being 2020, the SoDA District saw much growth and development, including the opening of new entertainment venues, bars, homes, and more. 2021 is expected to see even more growth with more development planned.

    Continued growth of Downtown Abilene

    Downtown Abilene continues to grow, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. New businesses continue to make strides to open, especially in the name of entertainment and retail. There is also hope for the construction of the Downtown Convention Center Hotel.

    Park improvements

    Both Stevenson and Sears park advocates have been pleading over the past year for improvements for our backyard playgrounds and leaders are now taking notice. City Manager Robert Hanna says with more people going outside to socially distance, parks have moved up on the list of repairs.

    Road improvements

    Streets are taking a front-page priority for the calendar year, too. More money being built up in the city’s Street Maintenance Fee account means more streets will soon be able to be repaired. Click here for the plans for 2021.

    Continued growth at Taylor County Expo Center

    The Taylor County Expo Center has been in a renovation period for a few years, with the opening of the new Guitar Arena, Taylor Telecom Area, and First Financial Pavilion. 2021 will see the completion of Phase 3 with a newly remodeled Coliseum.

    Work continues to bring the B-21 to Dyess AFB


    Work continues to bring the much anticipated B-21 Raider to Dyess Air Force Base. Specific details regarding the base’s allotment and more are still being worked out. Abilene’s community support for Dyess is second to none and this new mission promises life to Dyess for decades to come.

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