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Austin's COTA rolls out sweet details on first-ever holiday drive-thru

Austin's COTA rolls out sweet details on first-ever holiday drive-thru

COTA circuit of the americas peppermint parkway
Imagine COTA, but with 1 million twinkle lights. Photo courtesy of COTA

Update: As of November 10, passes are now on sale for COTA's inaugural Peppermint Parkway drive-thru experience. Tickets are priced beginning at $35 per vehicle and can be purchased here


Pictures with Santa and company holiday parties are probably not on this year's schedule, but Circuit of The Americas is making spirits a bit brighter with its first-ever drive-thru holiday celebration.

Beginning November 27 through January 3, COTA will invite guests onto its far East Austin grounds for an evening of festival fun. Peppermint Parkway is billed as a one-mile driving attraction lined with millions of glittering twinkle lights synched in time to classic holiday tunes.

“We’re determined to keep the magic of the holidays alive," said COTA chairman Bobby Epstein in a release. "Friends and family can throw on their comfy pajamas, pile in the car, and experience our vibrant holiday event to create memories that will last a lifetime.” 

Drivers join Pepper and Mint on their race down Tunnel Road to deliver letters to Santa in time for the big day. They'll be met on their journey by dancing elves, a 60-foot spiral light tree, giant light sculptures, and "other festive entertainers strolling through dazzling scenes, transporting guests from gingerbread alley to an enchanted forest." 

The ride ends with Jolly Ol' Saint Nick starring in what organizers promise will be an "unforgettable finale." 

Tickets go on sale beginning November 1. Once open, the Peppermint Parkway will be open 6-10 pm on weeknights and 6-11 pm on weekends and the week of Christmas.

“We hope this becomes a tradition for families as they celebrate the holidays for years to come. Whether it’s date night, a family outing, or a group of close friends, this is something for everyone,” said Courtney Young, executive producer of special projects.

COTA isn't the only local holiday attraction considering a drive-thru option for 2020. On September 17, Austin City Council will vote on whether or not Austin's iconic Trail of Lights can also operate as a drive-thru. Now in its 56th year, the Trail of Lights welcomes more than 400,000 visitors to Zilker Park every year.