Home » Society and Culture » Holidays

Austin Traditions: The Trail Of Lights

Aug 12, 2008
Although Austin's weather can make Christmas seem like the 4th of July, a sure-fire way to get into the spirit is to visit the annual Trail of Lights Festival. A holiday tradition for decades, this dazzling display of holiday decorations and lights is mounted in Zilker Park in Austin Texas every December, draws thousands of visitors, and along with the lighting of the tree at the State Capitol, is one of Austin's most beloved holiday customs.

The tradition dates back to 1965, when Yule Fest, as it was then called, debuted with a candlelight walk, a live nativity scene, Yule Log, and the first lighting display created for the event. This original display, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," has been a highlight of every festival since the very first one. Two years later, the now-famous Zilker Tree made its debut. Touted as the largest man-made tree in the world, it is 155 feet tall, and 180 feet in diameter, with almost 3,500 bulbs hung on streamers strung from Austin's historical Moonlight Tower. The lighting of this tree on the first Sunday in December has marked the beginning of the holiday season since 1967, and since 1987, the winner of a children's tree-coloring contest has done the honors.

The festival has continued to grow and expand, and in 1992 was renamed The Trail of Lights. Today, the Trail of Lights is over a mile long, and features over 40 elaborate scenes constructed of lights. Santa's House allows children to take pictures with Santa, but if the line is too long, they can "mail" him a wish list at the pretend Post Office. Holiday and winter themes abound, and the spectacular displays include, penguins, Mother Goose, and the King of Winter. Entertainment stages, refreshment stands, and bonfires lend to the air of festivity.

A unique tradition takes place on the Saturday following the lighting of the Zilker Tree. The Trail of Lights 5K Run allows entrants to preview the displays, on a 3.2 mile run that starts under the Zilker Tree, winds through the south side of Zilker Park, goes through the Trail of Lights and finish back at the Zilker Tree. Only registered participants are allowed access to the Trail for this event, and they also received a coveted tee-shirt commemorating the experience.

Entertainment is scheduled throughout all the days of the Trail of Lights festival, and provides family-friendly holiday enjoyment for all. A wide variety of local talent is featured, including dancers, musicians, storytellers, choirs, comedians, and theatre troupes.

This is one of Austin's premier all-ages activity, where you will find teenagers, kids, toddlers in strollers and babies in slings enjoying the glittering displays along with adults of all ages. Because it is so popular, the crowds can get large, but the holiday cheer in the air encourages courtesy and a real feeling of community. The festival is free and open to the public from 7 to 10 p.m. check the website for specific dates, an entertainment schedule, and parking information.
About the Author
Escapeso Realty is a small company working in the Austin real estate market. His site offers visitors a free search for Austin homes along with a free mortgage calculator.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 155
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources