New lights, new mu­sic make our spir­its bright

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - Betts is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Down­town Austin Al­liance.

Down­town

has al­ways been a great place to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day sea­son with fam­ily. As a kid, I re­mem­ber coming down­town to see the Christ­mas lights on Congress Av­enue and the win­dow dis­plays at Scar­brough’s De­part­ment Store. It was the high­light of my Christ­mas. What a sight to see Congress Av­enue, all lit up and buzzing with fes­tiv­i­ties.

Well, the dec­o­ra­tions and tra­di­tions down­town ebb and flow, but the Down­town Austin Al­liance is do­ing our part to carry on a hol­i­day tra­di­tion started more than 20 years ago.

We hope ev­ery­one will join us down­town this hol­i­day sea­son to ex­pe­ri­ence some very spe­cial fes­tiv­i­ties.

This year’s Christ­mas tree at the Capi­tol had an ex­cit­ing new twist: a mu­sic-and-light show twice an hour, fea­tur­ing the hol­i­day songs of well-loved Austin mu­si­cians. I’m happy to report that a few of my fa­vorite songs made the list.

Through­out down­town, shops, restau­rants, gal­leries, and mu­se­ums are fea­tur­ing spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. And through­out the sea­son, we are cel­e­brat­ing the new Congress Av­enue lights. The DAA has lit the 136 trees on Congress from Ce­sar Chavez Street to 11th Street. Un­like pre­vi­ous light­ing projects on the av­enue, the Congress Av­enue lights will re­main lit 365 days a year.

En­ergy-ef­fi­cient lights from the se­lected man­u­fac­turer, Blachere Il­lu­mi­na­tion, have bright­ened some of the world’s most rec­og­niz­able land­marks, in­clud­ing the Eif­fel Tower, and Congress Av­enue is the first U.S. street to fea­ture Blachere’s lights.

The 2nd Street District is host­ing its sec­ond an­nual Hol­i­day Win­dow Walk.

Stu­dents from the Univer­sity of Texas, St. Ed­ward’s Univer­sity, and Texas State Univer­sity have submitted elab­o­rate win­dow de­signs, com­pet­ing for more than $8,000 in schol­ar­ships gen­er­ously pro­vided by Sil­i­con Labs and the DAA.

You can help de­cide which win­dows will win by vot­ing for your fa­vorite from Satur­day through Dec. 15.

Twenty par­tic­i­pat­ing stores will show­case win­dows with a clas­sic chil­dren’s book and fairy tale theme un­til Jan. 2 for vis­i­tors to en­joy.

Visit Down­townAustinHol­i­days.com for a list of down­town events through­out the hol­i­day sea­son. We hope you, your fam­ily and friends can join us down­town dur­ing this very spe­cial sea­son.

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