Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Join us for the 52nd Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Sunday, November 25!

This family friendly event is free and open to the public. There will be local entertainment, food, novelties, and live music. Stop by and see us at our event booth! 

The 2018 52nd Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Schedule

November 25, 2018, Tree Lighting Ceremony
5:30 p.m.    Pre-event music
6:00 p.m.    Tree Lighting Ceremony

The tree will be on display nightly from 6 p.m. – midnight through January 1. 

Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704

History and Facts of the Zilker Holiday Tree 

Austin Energy has been lighting Austin's holidays since 1895. In the early 20th century, however, most light in the city came from moonlight towers, and not from the flip of a switch.

The moonlight tower in Zilker Park is one of the original 31 towers that provided the City of Austin its first urban lighting system in 1895. The 17 moonlight towers that remain represent the only working moonlight towers in the world. Over the years, the moonlight towers and the Zilker Holiday Tree have become Austin icons and a cherished part of the community's culture.

The Zilker Holiday Tree was first built by electricians from the City of Austin Electrical Department in 1967. Standing at 155 feet tall, the Zilker Tree was believed to be the "World's Tallest Man made Tree" at the time. However, an Indianapolis resident visiting Austin in 1976 called that claim into question. Turned out Indianapolis' Circle of Lights "tree" stood 130 feet taller at 285 feet. 

Regardless of world title, the Zilker Tree is still beloved for its "dizzying" unique spiral pattern of lights designed by City of Austin electricians. With 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored bulbs, the tree has a total of 3,309 lights. 

Every year, Austin Energy crews check each bulb in the streamers and place the yellow bulbs in a strategic pattern to create the iconic Zilker Holiday Tree swirl. Installing the streamers takes an average of six hours and requires a coordinated effort by about 25 employees. This year, our electricians installed four of the 39 streamers with new LED bulbs, making the tree more energy efficient than ever. 

As a publicly owned utility, we’re proud to be a part of installing the Zilker Holiday Tree every year. It's part of how we stay customer driven and community focused. 


Last Updated: 11/16/18

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