Austin Trail of Lights opens with sold out night

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s holiday tradition kicked off with a sold out night but it looked a little different this year.

Tonight, the 56th Annual Austin Trail of Lights held its premiere at Zilker Park starting at 5:45 p.m. This year the annual light display is a drive-through event due to COVID-19. The dates for the event were also extended by two weeks, running from Nov. 28 to Jan. 3.

The limited $95 premiere night vehicle passes were sold out for the night. The pass lets visitors get an exclusive look of the trail before the grand opening on Nov. 29. Premiere night holders also got a commemorative 2020 Austin Trail of Lights ornament, a box of festive cookies and a discount card for select Austin businesses.

Tickets for the Trail of Lights have been on sale since early October. General admission passes are sold at $25 to $35 depending on the date and time of entry, according to Trail of Lights organizers. General admission begins at 7 p.m.

Dash passes are also available at $60 and allow early entry to the display at 5:45 p.m for the night they are bought. The Dash pass also comes with a box of cookies and the discount card.

A vehicle pass is good for nine passengers per vehicle. If a vehicle has 10 or more passengers then two passes would be required.

This year’s trail of lights is also smaller by 17 acres. The trail downsized from 42 acres to 25 acres, according to a city memo in October.

As a drive-through event, no pedestrian or foot traffic is allowed. The memo also said the following events, attractions, and services are not available this year:

  • Community performance stages
  • The carousel and Ferris wheel
  • Walk-up ticket purchases
  • In-person pedestrian experiences

The annual Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting will be happening virtually this year, according to the City of Austin website. On-site viewing or walk-ups will not be available. The lighting will be begin at 6 p.m on Nov. 29.

While at the trail you can only view the holiday tree from inside your vehicle on the roadway. Parking spots and spaces under and near the Zilker tree will be closed.

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