Kick off the holiday season and celebrate the Zilker Tree Lighting 50th Year! 

City of Austin’s annual holiday gift to the community. 

Every winter, the Moonlight tower in Zilker Park is transformed into the Zilker Tree, a holiday tradition since 1967. Austin Energy crews create the Zilker Tree by stringing 39 streamers, each containing 81 red, yellow, green and blue 25-watt bulbs totaling 3,309 lights, from the top of the moonlight tower. The strategic placement of the yellow bulbs on each streamer gives the tree its distinctive, dizzying swirl pattern which was created by the City of Austin electricians. The tree is adorned at the top of the tower with two stars containing 75 frosted bulbs each and a span of 10′ from point to point. The circumference measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.

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Your child may be selected to switch on the lights. Find out how…

Another tradition around the Zilker Tree is the citywide tree art contest, open to children ages 5 through 10 years old. The young winners will have the honor of flipping the switch at the lighting ceremony to illuminate Austin’s holiday showpiece.The ceremony is presented by Austin Parks and Recreation and supported by Austin Energy and the Trail of Lights Foundation.
The Zilker Tree will be on display nightly Nov. 27 through Dec. 31,from 6 p.m. to midnight. To learn more and find out how your child can participate in the art contest, visit austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree.

On December 10, 1967, the first tree was lighted by Mayor Pro Tem Mrs. Emma Long.


2016 Zilker Holiday Tree Schedule

November 27, 2016, Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Join us for the tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 pm.  Featuring local entertainment, food, novelties and live music.

Prelude Music by the  Austin Civic Wind Ensemble, Robert Laguna, Conductor.    Additional event music by the Barton Hills Choir, Gavin Tabone, Director, Kati Achtermann, Principal.

November 28  – December 31, 6 pm – 12 midnight, tree on display nightly.  REMINDER – on Trail of Lights Nights the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights.   If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights – see the schedule below!

2016 Trail of Lights Schedule

Event Schedule – http://www.austintrailoflights.org/
December 3             5K Run – see event website to register
December 10-23     Trail of Lights event nights – see event website for details, ticket, pre-paid parking, etc…

There will be PRE-PERMITTED PARKING ONLY at the park during Trail of Lights Nights.  Motorists will not be allowed to wait and pay on site for parking.  Extensive neighborhood parking restrictions will be in effect.   Shuttle or bicycle arrival is the best option – plan ahead!

The 50th Zilker Holiday Tree presentation is supported by Austin Energy, and the Trail of Lights Foundation.

Moonlight Tower Information:

• Earlier this year, the Zilker moonlight tower was taken down, repaired, refurbished and erected with energy-efficient, LED light bulbs. Keeping in the same tradition and in honor of the 50-year celebration, the two stars on the top of the Zilker Holiday Tree will be made out of LED bulbs arranged to light up the number “50” in red.

• The Moonlight towers in Austin, Texas are the only known surviving light towers in the world. They are 165 feet (50 m) tall and have a 15-foot (4.6 m) foundation. A single tower cast light from six carbon arc lamps, illuminating a 1,500-foot-radius (460 m) circle brightly enough to read a watch. The Zilker Park tower was prominently featured in the film “Dazed and Confused” (1993).

Zilker Holiday Tree to be installed for the 50th year in a row!

WHERE: Zilker Park, south of Barton Springs Road near Andrew Zilker Road