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How does the Fairmont Austin create its larger-than-life lights displays?

From a longhorn to a heart, here's how the downtown hotel has managed to light up the sky with images.

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — Over the last year, you may have noticed some huge pictures in the Downtown Austin skyline.

It was a huge heart this week, but the Fairmont Austin hotel has also shown off a giant Longhorn, a holiday gift and a spooky jack-o-lantern on the side of its distinctive building – all greeting Interstate 35 travelers as they drive on by.

But you may be wondering, how does the hotel pull it off?

To begin, the Fairmont provided KVUE a little bit of history.

The first display, the Texas Longhorn, hit the skyline on April 21, 2019, showcasing the support of the hotel's partnership with Texas Athletics. After its success, the hotel decided to try it again to pay homage to Austin's murals and to bring joy to the community.


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To make it happen, the reservations manager books out rooms, mapping out the design on a grid outlining the south-facing side of the hotel. It takes a large team to pull it off, with several hotel volunteers setting up colored lights in many of the 500 rooms on this side of the hotel. This includes the windows not in use, as those blinds have to remain closed.

The up-lighting is provided by PSAV, an on-site audio/visual team. They help install the colors to make the displays pop – like the green of the jack-o-lantern's stem or the gift's red ribbon.


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However, the natural gold color you see comes from turning on every light in the guest rooms and closing the sheer curtains to give it a glowing effect.

Here's how many rooms it took to make each display work:

  • Longhorn – 112 rooms
  • Jack-o-lantern – 253 rooms
  • Holiday gift – 194 rooms
  • Valentine's heart – 240 rooms

If you'd like to help pick the hotel's next best high-profile display, the Fairmont said you can tag or message your ideas to them on social media.

Wondering what the next big surprise will be? The hotel said to keep your eyes peeled for early March.

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