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Holiday tradition in Austin lights up Zilker Park

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The switch has been flipped on the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park, putting thousands of people around Central Texas in the holiday spirit.
The tradition has been going on for nearly 50 years now.
The grand opening of the trail was Sunday and it will run until December 22nd; 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. daily.

For the residents of Austin, it's a kick-off to Christmas.
Maggie Ruiz says she plans to bring her children multiple times.
"It's exciting to be out here. There are a lot of lights now, more than when I was younger. I just want my children to see how much lighting there is out here," says Maggie Ruiz, spectator.
With over 40 vendors throughout the park, a different musical artist every night and more transportation options, the Trail of Lights Foundation is offering more than ever before.
"It will continue to grow. That's one of the goals of the foundation, to make sure it continues to be new, fresh and innovative every year. There's almost 50 displays and destinations within the trail itself," says Mario Espinoza, Trail of Lights Foundation, president.
The event cost around $1.5 million this year, something that was a problem in the past.
Funding caused it to be canceled in 2010 and 2011.
It was by the help of the community that the lights turned back on last year and they're expected to stay on for years to come.
"It's part of an Austin tradition. Austinites have come to appreciate it and it's an event for the whole family, the kids to come out and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season," says Mayor Lee Leffingwell, City of Austin.
Barbara Salisbury remembers bringing her daughters out here years ago and is now enjoying the lights with her grandchildren.
"It's huge. We're so excited to get started. We were amazed when we walked up because it used to be fairly small when it started and it grew a little bit, but this year it looks amazing," says Barbara Salisbury.

The Trail of Lights is free to the public but you must pay for parking:

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