Austin celebrates the holidays with various events

Lauren Hansen

Austin is full of quarks that help it stay true to the saying “Keep Austin Weird.”  Around this time of year, it’s no different. Most everything between Guadelupe and Congress is covered in bright white twinkle lights, giant red velvet bows, round green wreaths and shiny gold tinsel. With students out of school, and parents off from work, families spend this time together enjoying all the sights and events the festive city has to offer.

A favorite Christmas tradition is The Nutcracker that can be seen here at Ballet Austin. Founded in 1956 by Barbra Carson, Ballet Austin Academy has quickly become one of the largest in the United States. Like most ballet academies, Ballet Austin has an annual performance of The Nutcracker. This has been a hallowed tradition for many years and this year marks the 46th productions. This “festive feast for the senses” includes skillful dancers, glorious costumes and magnificent sets with a different celebrity playing Mother Ginger in each performance.

One of the most popular Christmas events is the Trail of Lights. With over 300,000 lights, the 12 Days of Christmas and dozens of displays, this holiday trail is an extravaganza that is hard to miss. The Trail of Lights Festival has been an Austin tradition since 1965, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

“The Trail of Lights is my favorite thing to do in Austin during the Holiday season.” Olivia Rhine, sophomore, said, “It’s really fun to go with friends and the lights are really pretty.”

Included in the Trail of Lights is the famous Zilker Tree around the old moonlight tower in the middle of Zilker Park. This famous tree stands 155 feet tall and is made of 39 strands of light bulbs, each strand with 81 multi-colored bulbs; that’s over 3,300 light bulbs. Zilker also hosts the Trail of Lights 5K where participants can run, walk or even stroll the 3.2 mile course through the park, while enjoying the light displays.

 “I love going downtown with my family,” Brelle Daniel, junior, said. “We are not around each other a lot, so it’s nice to catch up. We love to walk around downtown and see the Christmas spirit.”

37th street in Downtown Austin is definitely a treat for the eyes. This street proves that funky yard art is not limited to South Austin with house after house decked out in elaborate lights and decorations. The displays range from the interesting and inspiring to the all out wacky. This crazy neighborhood has thousands of visitors show up each night for pleasurable viewing. 

No matter what religion they practice, or holiday traditions they follow, everyone is sure to find something festive in Austin to enjoy with loved ones this holiday season.