Fundraising underway for Trail of Lights


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 20 at 1:29 PM

AUSTIN --The Trail of Lights opens to the public on December 16 bringing back a holiday tradition that started in 1965.

The event is free to the public and has attracted tens of thousands of Austin residents over the years.

The Trail of Lights comes at a cost of $1.2 million to run -- a number that includes the manpower needed to set up the decorations, security, and clean-up. The holiday tradition displays one million lights, 50 displays, and hundreds of statues.

"My wife was born and raised here so she is really excited to see it start up again," said Austin resident Frank Luke. "It definitely starts to feel like Christmas."

Several groups have come together to make the Trail of Lights a reality after a two-year hiatus. Corporations have contributed or pledged $950,000 toward the budget. Fundraisers expect another $150,000 will be raised during the eight-day event through parking fees and other revenue.

They are asking businesses and individuals to donate the remaining $100,000 to meet the goal.

"We're hoping the community will come, step in, help us out, and help us finish this thing," said Jay Watson, CEO of Forefront.

If you want to donate, there is a special fundraising page on the Trail of Lights website. The group offers incentives including a free shuttle ride for those who donate.

This year the Trail of Lights is also raising money for 23 Austin non-profits, you can donate to that effort online and by texting ATXLIGHT to 20222 to give $10 dollars to the Trail of Lights Giving Fund.