AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 50th anniversary of Austin’s most beloved holiday celebration, the Trail of Lights, kicks off this Sunday, Dec. 7 with 15 nights of family fun, complete with food, entertainment and, of course, plenty of lights.
Since its modest beginning in 1965 as a small community gathering, the Trail of Lights has grown into Austin’s largest event, attracting more than 425,000 people in 2013. The 2014 Trail of Lights, brought to the public by the Trail of Lights Foundation and corporate sponsors like title sponsor H-E-B, reflects Austin’s growth as a unique entertainment destination.
The official grand opening ceremony of this year’s Trail of Lights will be on Dec. 7 at 6:00 p.m. and is free for guests of all ages (the gates will open at 7 p.m.). Beyond opening night, the Trail remains free Monday through Thursday evenings. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will require a weekend gate fee of $3 for individuals 12 and older.
New Entertainment for the Trail’s 50th Anniversary
New displays that will populate this year’s 1.25-mile long trail in honor of the event’s 50th anniversary include an interactive Santa’s Workshop presented by Vista Equity Partners and Candy Land display presented by Robert F. Smith, its chairman and CEO, which will feature live candy demonstrations from local candy makers.
Several refurbished traditional favorites will join these new displays, including the popular Toy Machine, revamped by sponsor Silicon Labs; Tiny Town, updated by sponsor Freescale; and the Trail of Lights globe, sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin. This year will also mark the reintroduction of the Yule Log with the help of Cirrus Logic.
The Trail of Lights will also include 30 food vendors, 40 light displays, holiday entertainment and, of course, Santa. The 155-foot Zilker Tree, sponsored by Google Fiber, is located adjacent to the Trail of Lights and will feature a 90-foot Ferris wheel – a first for the Trail of Lights.
Also joining the Trail of Lights for the first time this year is ESPN. X Games gold medalist and professional BMX athlete Chase Hawk will be present Dec. 11 to announce the 2015 event dates and news for the X Games here in Austin.
The Trail of Lights will also host special theme nights including:
- Heroes’ Night on Dec. 9 to celebrate public service personnel with performances from the 36th Division Infantry Band.
- UT Night on Dec. 16, which encourages everyone to wear burnt orange to show their Longhorn pride while enjoying entertainment by UT groups like the UT Chorus, Texas Latin Dance and Texas Sprit Teams.
“We are incredibly excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Trail of Lights, an event that has evolved alongside the city of Austin over the past five decades,” said Mario Espinoza, board president of the Trail of Lights Foundation. “The Trail of Lights is a great reflection of our unique community, and it is our goal to continue that effort for years to come.”
2014 Trail of Lights Support
The 2014 Trail of Lights marks the third year that the Trail of Lights has been produced by a nonprofit organization and entirely supported by donations from the local businesses and community members, including H-E-B, Seton Healthcare Family, Vista Equity Partners, Google Fiber, KXAN, the City of Austin and several local, Austin-based companies and individuals. To see a full list of sponsors, visit http://austintrailoflights.org/support/2014-sponsors.
The Trail of Lights takes place at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. The event runs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21 and opens at 7 p.m. each night. The Trail of Lights Foundation encourages Trail-goers to plan their trip to the Trail of Lights and purchase ZiP Fast Passes, parking passes, shuttle passes or weekend admission tickets in advance at www.AustinTrailofLights.org.
About Trail of Lights Foundation
The Trail of Lights Foundation is an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to producing the Austin Trail of Lights as an authentically Austin community celebration. The organization raises funds from donations by individuals and the business community to produce and ensure the long-term sustainability of Austin’s largest community celebration. The 2012 Trail of Lights was named one of the Top 10 lighting festivals in the country by USA Today. To learn more visit www.AustinTrailofLights.org.