An Elf movie party, Trail of Lights and 6 other things to do in Central Austin this weekend, Dec. 22-24

Although the weather has been mild, Austin has plenty of events to get residents and visitors into the holiday spirit. Check these out before they pack up until next year.

Dec. 20-23
Local ballet company performs winter classic
The Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund presents the 55th annual production of “The Nutcracker” by Ballet Austin. 2 and 7:30 p.m. $46-$238. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin.

Central Texans gaze at Trail of Lights
The annual tradition features more than 40 displays and 2 million lights for 15 days. 7-10 p.m. Free (Dec. 9-14, 18-19), $3 (Dec. 15-17, 20-23). Zilker Metropolitan PArk, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin.

Dec. 20-24
Blue Genie Art Bazaar celebrates 17th year
This annual holiday arts and shopping event features one-of-a-kind homemade gifts made by nearly 200 artisans and craftspeople. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (closes at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24.) Free. Blue Genie Art Bazaar, 6100 Airport Blvd., Austin. 512-222-7303.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar kicks off
This 11-day fine art fair features award-winning local artists and two full bars for a festive outing. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. $8 (one-day pass), $60 (season pass), free (kids 12 and under). Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs, Austin.

Dec. 20-30
Circuit of the Americas hosts a new holiday festival
“Winter Wonderland at the Circuit” features nearly a mile of lights, an ice skating rink, a petting zoo and a visit from Santa Claus plus carnival rides and live music. 6 p.m. $16. Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin.

Dec. 20-31
ZACH Theatre presents "A Christmas Carol"
This musical adaption of the classic Dickens' story spans genres and eras. The show is two hours and 20 minutes with one intermission, and is recommended for children 6 and older. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. $83-$143. Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. 512-476-0541.

Dec. 21
Play holiday games, meet Santa at free event
The city of Austin Parks & Recreation Department hosts the Night Before Christmas Break. At the event, children play holiday games and meet Santa Claus. 5:30-8 p.m. Free. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St., Austin. 512-978-2399.

Dec. 22-25
Alamo Drafthouse throws an "Elf" movie party
Watch the instant holiday classic while also enjoying fun props, a themed contest before the film and a snowball fight inside the theater. Showtimes vary. $15. Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, 320 E. Sixth St., Austin. 512-861-7020.


Photo of ACL Fest
Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin city staff and officials are pursuing additional protections related to mold issues in rental housing. (Courtesy city of Austin)
City pursuing improvements to handling of Austin renters' mold complaints

New recommendations from a report launched in the wake of Winter Storm Uri detail adjustments Austin could make to its mold response.

Students at O. Henry Middle School in Austin head in for their first day of school Aug. 17. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD's COVID-19 rate lower than nearby districts after first month of school

Austin ISD recorded more cases in the first month of this school year than in all of the 2020-2021 school year. Still, Austin ISD saw a lower percentage of cases in students than surrounding school districts.

Wayback Burgers specializes in cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
Wayback Burgers coming to Leander; fire kills 75 dogs in Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Screen shot of Dr. Desmar Walkes speaking
Austin ICUs remain crowded with COVID-19 patients, delaying some critical care

Within the past week, there was a waiting list of patients to be transferred into Austin-area ICUs, Austin Public Health leaders said.

The city of Austin this summer cleared four unregulated homeless encampments and shifted dozens of residents into shelters. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house thousands of Austin's homeless people taking shape, but outlook for local success, project funding still unclear

The strategy's first housing benchmark fell short in June, and updates on how the estimated $515 million needed for housing and services will be spent are overdue.

The city is looking for feedback on its cap and stitch proposal, which is in the preliminary stages. (Benton Graham/Community Impact)
City seeks input on proposals to add decks and widened bridges over I-35 in Central Austin

The proposal is in the preliminary stages, and the city is still reviewing the feasibility of locations and project funding.

DATA: How population changed in Texas counties between census counts in 2010, 2020

Texas added nearly four million people between 2010 and 2020, according to the latest Census data.

A volunteer unloads food from a truck during the Central Texas Food Bank's April 4 event to feed families in need at Nelson Field in Austin. (Courtesy Central Texas Food Bank)
Central Texas Food Bank delivering boxes of food directly to homes through 2021

Some families will be eligible to have boxes with food for 25 meals delivered by Amazon.

The 28-story tower is expected to open on West 17th Street in 2023. (Rendering courtesy Rhode Partners)
Luxury mixed-use tower The Linden breaks ground north of Capitol in Central Austin

The 28-story high-rise will feature dozens of luxury residences, including a selection of two-story penthouses.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission considered a finalized draft of an updated map for Austin's 10 City Council districts Sept. 15. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATED: Draft map of Austin's redrawn City Council boundaries ready for community review

Volunteer city redistricting commissioners have unanimously passed an initial outline to update all 10 City Council districts set to go into effect next year.