AUSTIN (KXAN) - With Zilker Park cleared out from the recent Austin City Limits Music Festival, crews are now setting up for this year's Trail of Lights.
Trail of Lights director John Honning and his eight person crew started hanging the first of 1.5 million lights this week. The annual Trail of Lights Festival opens in seven weeks and there's a whole lot of work left to do.
"Last year was an eight day event...we're bringing it back to it's full glory, 15 days," Honning said. "We had 400,000 people estimated last year, the largest attended event...we're expecting 500,000 to 600,000 this year."
The task is daunting. Decorating more than 100 trees high and low, stretching from one end of the park to the other. It's a sight that impresses lighting director Chuck Watson every year.
"I just like seeing once all the lights gets done, it's really beautiful," Watson said. "I love being in the crowd and listening to all the people talking about how beautiful the trees are."
This year's event will also put a higher emphasis on live music.
"We're going to have Asleep at the Wheel, Vallejo and other higher end bands," Honning said. "It may be an opportunity to come back more than one night."
Honning said the Zilker Park grounds are in great shape despite heavy rains and two weekends of ACL. Displays will start arriving next week.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.