When I first heard there would be no Trail Of Lights at Zilker Park this year, my initial reaction was one of regret. It's been a while since I've walked the trail (my kids were very little then; they're practically grown now). But we had such fun.
The lights themselves didn't hold great meaning to a blind person like myself. But I liked walking the trail, visiting Santa's house, and just hearing the joy in my children's voices as they took in the whole event.
My, how things change. The tough economic landscape has forced the city of Austin to scale back the Trail Of Lights event this year. When I first read the headline, "No Trail Of Lights This Year" I thought they were eliminating the whole thing. As I read on, however, I was glad to find out there will still be an event, albeit a scaled-back version.
Instead of the 1.25-mile trail in past years, it will be about a half-mile, centered around the Zilker Tree. It will be a nine-day event instead of two weeks, and there will be concessions, concerts, and other entertainment around the event. Parking fees will drop from $15 to $10, and, perhaps the best news of all, it will still be free admission. The city had originally planned to charge a $5 admission to anyone over the age of 11, but they decided to do away with that idea.
No, it may not be the Trail Of Lights we've come to embrace as an annual Austin tradition, but it may still be fun. Perhaps times will be better by next year or the year after, and the full event can be brought back. At least we're still having one.