Austin Trail of Lights could live on as drive-thru event this winter

A drive-thru Trail of Lights could serve 1,300 vehicles per night this December. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
A drive-thru Trail of Lights could serve 1,300 vehicles per night this December. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

A drive-thru Trail of Lights could serve 1,300 vehicles per night this December. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austinites could be staring at a trail of taillights while attending the area’s annual holiday light show at Zilker Park this winter.

Austin Trail of Lights organizers have asked the city of Austin to allow for a 30-day, drive-thru-only event this year in lieu of the traditional walk-through in order to make the event happen while still following local health guidelines.

City Council is scheduled to vote Sept. 17 on an ordinance to allow the change. The modified Trail of Lights, as detailed in the draft ordinance, would allow for 1,300 cars per night, and admission would not be charged at the event.

“A traditional in-person event is not possible, safe or in alignment with protecting the community’s health, “ the ordinance states; it further describes a drive-thru event as “the only say for Austinites to enjoy the holiday activity.”

If Austin City Council approves the ordinance, event organizers would still need to present an event plan to Austin Public Health for final safety approval.


The ordinance is being co-sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Paige Ellis, Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison and Ann Kitchen.

The Trail of Lights—which features over 40 holiday light displays and traditionally includes live music, food tucks and other activities—is held each year in December leading up to the Christmas holiday. The 55th annual event took place last year.