Zilker Holiday Tree installed ahead of 53rd annual lighting ceremony


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner, and that means our Zilker Park horizon will soon feature its winter season favorite: the Zilker Holiday Tree.

Austin Energy crews installed the tree Wednesday morning.

For those who are new to Austin, the tree is not a tree but one of the original 31 moonlight towers. Only 17 still exist around town.

The crews decorated 39 strings of light from the 155-foot-tall tower to prepare for the 53rd annual lighting ceremony later this season.

Those strings hold 3300 light bulbs.

And folks may notice something new. The tree is greener but we’re not talking color. Most of the lights this year will be LED bulbs, and will consume less electricity while lasting longer.

Austin Energy Electrical Maintenance Superintendent Clint Correll, who has worked on the tree over 16 years, said the new bulbs will consume less power:

Basically the old tree would take about four households worth of power to actually work. This year we can plug this tree into about two different power outlets within that one house.


Speaking of colors, the lights will contain red, yellow, green and blue bulbs. The yellow bulbs are the only ones that are not LED.

“We had an issue getting yellow bulbs this year. We got some but not enough to do the whole thing, so we didn’t want to mismatch them,” Correll said. “Next year we should be 100% LED.”


The yellow bulbs’ placement is strategic. They give the tree its distinctive swirl pattern, which many find dizzying for the popular activity of twirling underneath for a video or picture.

“It’s always fun to see the folks come out, especially on opening night and see it actually light for the first time,” Correll said. “The kids get a big kick out of it.”

The 2019 tree lighting ceremony will take place on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. Winners of a Children’s Zilker Holiday Tree art contest will light the tree, per Austin Energy’s press release. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor the event. If you do miss chances to see it early on, do not fret. The tree will be on display through Jan. 1, 2020, from 6 p.m. until midnight.

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