September 7, 2017
By Luz Moreno-Lozano, Community Impact Newspaper
The 53rd annual Austin Trail of Lights will run Dec. 9-23, according to a Sept. 6 press release issued by the event’s media team.
Every holiday season, Zilker Park, located at 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, is transformed into with over two million lights, 40 displays, more than 20 food trucks, two stages, 30 private holiday parties and interactive experiences throughout the trail.
Admission to this year’s grand opening celebration on Dec. 9 is free. The trail will remain open through Dec. 23 with gates opening to the public every night at 7 p.m. General admission for children under 12 is always free. There will be a fee for general admission tickets on seven of the 14 nights of this year’s event. Early entry ZiP Fast Pass, VIP Platinum, parking and shuttle passes are also available for purchase on select nights.
The Trail of Lights includes over two million lights and 40 displays through Zilker Park. The trail will run Dec. 9-23A (via Courtesy Dear Wesleyann Photography)
“This is the sixth year that the Trail of Lights Foundation has produced this community event, and we are very proud to offer this unique celebration of all that Austin is known for,” said Trail of Lights Foundation Board President Leah Davies. “2017’s event is a culmination of a great year, highlighting the people, music, groups, food, technology, charitable organizations and businesses that make Austin the place we love to call home. Visitors will see new modernized displays, interactive environments, Austin’s famous food trucks, local musical talent, movies, local merchants and more.”
Here is a list of specialty nights and programs expected to take place leading up to and during the event:
Sun. Nov. 26, Zilker Tree lighting
The event kicks off the holiday season in Zilker Park. Food vendors and other merchants will operate at the tree throughout the month of December.
Sat. Dec. 2, Trail of Lights Fun Run
The 2.1-mile course starts at the Zilker Tree and takes runners through the Austin Trail of Lights, ending with a celebration in the park. Up to 10,000 runners are expected to participate in two waves. General registration will begin in mid-September.
Sun.-Mon. Dec. 3-4, Wed. Dec. 6, STARS at the Trail
Up to 20 nonprofit organizations will be given private tours of the trail. Since 2013, STARS at the Trail has provided an opportunity for more than 2,500 school children, teens, families of varied socioeconomic backgrounds, youth in foster and adoptive care, WWII veterans, mentors and mentees, chronically ill patients and others with unique circumstances to create special holiday memories at the Trail of Lights.
The Austin Trail of Lights will run Dec. 9-23. (via Courtesy Dear Wesleyann Photography)
Tue. Dec. 5, Spirit Night
This is a private event hosted by Spirit 105.9 Radio and numerous area churches.
Fri. Dec. 8, Night Lights Preview Party
The event features entertainment, food samples from local Austin restaurants and specialty activities not available once the event officially opens to the public Dec. 9. Tickets start at $75 per person and will go on sale in early November. Proceeds benefit the Trail of Lights Foundation.
Sun. Dec. 10, UT Night
The trail lights turn burnt orange during this event which features special programming, entertainment and private hospitality tickets for University of Texas at Austin students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Tue. Dec. 12, HEROES Night
The evening honors first responders, including active police officers, fire and EMS workers, active military personnel and veterans. Guests will create holiday letters to send to troops and other activities to pay tribute to the service of first responders.
More information can be found at www.austintrailoflights.com
Thank you Austin! 2017 Austin Trail of Lights was filled with smiling faces, amazing performances from our community and of course millions of twinkling lights! From spinning under the Zilker Tree, around the carousel and Ferris Wheel to visits with Santa - check out a few highlights!