Austin Energy workers keep holiday tradition going

A not-your-everyday, 155-foot Zilker tree is standing tall in Zilker Metropolitan Park, thanks in part to staff members from Austin Energy. Property buyers who are pursuing some of the homes for sale in Austin can celebrate the spirit of the season by visiting the Zilker Holiday Tree and other annual seasonal events in the area.

Austin Energy employees installed the tree on November 2, 2012, by using a 75-ton bucket truck that goes up to 170 feet high. The tree was set up in preparation for the 46th annual tree lighting, which, as always, takes place on the first Sunday of December at 6 p.m.

However, the Zilker Holiday Tree is far from ordinary. The tree features 3,159 blue, green, red and yellow bulbs that are placed around its branches in a distinct swirl pattern. Additionally, it includes two stars with 75 frosted bulbs apiece at the top of the Zilker Park Moonlight Tower and connect 39 streamers that help transform the tower into the Zilker Holiday Tree.

After it is lit for the first time this year, which will be on December 2, Austin residents can enjoy the colorful display every evening until midnight throughout the holiday season.

The Trail of Lights
2012 marks the return of the Zilker Park Trail of Lights, a uniquely Austin event that features family activities, live music and more. The event will take place from December 16 to December 23 and promises to be a fun-filled occasion for visitors of all ages.

"The Trail of Lights is an iconic celebration of authentic Austin," said Paul Carrozza, one of the event's coordinators. "So many people have asked for this, wanting this tradition to be brought back to Austin. [The] Trail of Lights is a piece of Austin's history and a platform bringing together Central Texans to participate in a vibrant event and advance the community. Great things happen when we come together to celebrate."

Since 1965, the Trail of Lights was an annual spectacle for Austin residents, but it was stopped two years ago. Several community groups joined forces to re-launch the annual holiday celebration this year.

The 2012 edition of the Trail of Lights will include carolers, dancers, musicians and singers. In fact, the entire week will feature nightly themes, such as Heritage Night, School Spirit Night and Military Appreciation Night, so people will have plenty of opportunities to show their support for the community and celebrate the holiday season.