Austin, Texas’ most vibrant holiday winter attraction is back for its 54th year; announces activities, event calendar and more
AUSTIN, Texas: The Trail of Lights Foundation today announces dates for the 54th annual Austin Trail of Lights, powered by H-E-B, running from Monday, Dec. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 in Austin’s beloved Zilker Park. Since it began in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights has grown into one of the city’s largest events, attracting an average of 400,000 people from all over the state and country per year. Every holiday season, Austin’s iconic Zilker Park is transformed into the Trail of Lights with more than two million lights, 65+ displays, 30 food trucks, three entertainment stages, 50 private holiday parties and interactive experiences throughout the park.
Last year, the Austin Trail of Lights was recognized as a Top 10 lighting or holiday event by USA Today, Yahoo and Southern Living and was deemed the second largest event in Austin, according to the Austin Business Journal (2017). The Trail attracted a nightly average of 27,000 attendees and totaled more than 1 million miles walked by the end of the month-long event.
“Austin, Texas certainly has its share of amazing events each year, but there is something especially magical about the Trail of Lights. It is a time when not only our community but visitors from around the world come to Austin to experience one of our greatest annual traditions, one for both the young and the old, that brings out the child-like spirit and wonder of the holidays that is in each of us,” said Rachel Green, President-Elect of the Trail of Lights Foundation Board. “We invite our friends from around the country to come enjoy the Trail of Lights with us this year and always.”
2018 New Attractions
New attractions this year include a 13-foot illuminated carriage, 12 eight-foot lighted guitars commemorating Austin’s musical roots and a 25-foot spiral holiday tree.
Ticketing, Specialty Nights and Programming
From Dec. 10 – 23, general admission gates will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. every evening. General admission for children under 12 is always free at the Trail. The Trail of Lights Foundation is committed to keeping general admission to the Trail free seven out of the 14 nights of the event, with a general admission fee on the remaining seven nights. Early entry ZIP Fast Passes, VIP Platinum, parking and shuttle passes are also available for purchase on select nights. Calendars for ticket availability, special programming and online ticket purchases will be available Fall 2018 at austintrailoflights.org.
The Trail of Lights hosts a variety of specialty nights throughout the holiday season, kicking it off with the 52nd annual Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony happening on Sunday, Nov. 25. Other specialty nights include:
- Annual Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run on Saturday, Dec. 1
- 5th annual STARS at the Trail program offering up to 20 nonprofit organizations private tours of the Trail occurring Dec. 2, 3 and 4
- 5th annual Night Lights Preview Party, the Trail of Lights Foundation’s annual fundraiser, on Saturday, Dec. 8
- Austin Trail of Lights Grand Opening premiers on Monday, Dec. 10
Additional specialty nights will be announced as details are available. For more information, please see austintrailoflights.org.
About the Trail of Lights Foundation and Community Engagement
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 annual month-long holiday celebration is curated in close conjunction with its long-time partner, Forefront Networks, who provides turn-key production, marketing, sponsorship and programming services to the foundation. The Trail of Lights has remained in the top three Austin events since the Trail of Lights Foundation adopted the event in 2012.
Continuing its mission to ensure that all Central Texans can experience the Austin Trail of Lights, the Trail of Lights Foundation (TOLF) Board is expanding its STARS at the Trail program, providing access to even more vital community organizations. Since 2013, STARS at the Trail has hosted more than 4,500 children, families, veterans and seniors for private Trail of Lights experiences.
Applications for STARS participation are open to 501c3 organizations, and are available online now at www.austintrailoflights.org/stars-application. Applications are due Sept. 18.
For more information on the Austin Trail of Lights, please see www.austintrailoflights.org.