big and bright in atx
The stars might be bigger and brighter in Texas, but it's Austin's Trail of Lights that shines the brightest every December. The Christmas-themed display, now in its 59th year, just announced its returning dates for 2023: Friday, December 9, through Saturday, December 23.
The walk-through tradition at Zilker Park tallied up its total lights this year at 2 million, in 96 trees and more than 70 other displays. Visitors can choose to visit in cars or on foot for different types of holiday fun, including some live performances. One of Austin's favorite seasonal events, it raises funds on some nights for more than 40 non-profit partners.
The Trail of Light Foundation aims to keep the annual tradition accessible to all community members, so general admission for adults will be free to the public for seven out of 14 total nights. Children under the age of 12 can also enjoy free general admission.
"Over the last decade, the Foundation’s goal has remained the same, to deliver an enduring holiday experience to the entire city," said Trail of Lights Foundation executive director James Russell in a release.
Some of us are reticent to believe a "fun run" is actually all that enthralling, but this Chuy's-sponsored event should actually live up to the promise. The 12th annual Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run will take place on December 2, the day after the lights open for a preview party.
"As part of our partnership, we will collect toys and monetary donations for Operation Blue Santa, who needs our help more than ever this holiday season," said Chuy's chief marketing officer Ashley Ingle. The program works with Austin Police Department to distribute the goodies and food to "families in need."
Thousands of runners (and walkers) are expected to attend in holiday attire, enjoying the lights along the two-mile course. They'll be met at the end by Santa himself, who is ready for photos. Participants will receive a commemorative long sleeve T-shirt, a race bib, and a complimentary beer or cocoa.
Local food trucks will be ready for the hungry exercisers, who will have a change to burn even more energy in a DJ dance party and gather inspiration at the "fitness expo." Visitors who need a chance to sit down (relatable) may consider riding the Ferris wheel or carousel.
New for this year's fun run are four different "waves" of start times so participants can choose the best slot that suits their schedules and needs. The "Runner Wave" (for participants who prefer to maintain a runner's pace), will begin at 5:45 pm, and the three additional waves will begin at 6 pm, 6:45 pm, and 7:45 pm.
More information about the Austin Trail of Lights and early bird registration for the fun run are available at austintrailoflights.org.
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