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Austin Holiday Traditions in 2020

 With the spooky season ending and the start of the holidays rushing in, many are wondering, “What festivities are there to do in Austin during the times of Covid-19? Luckily for us holiday fanatics there are several events still staying open or modifying with the new normal. Some of which are Austin staples and others are new ideas only made possible by the spread of the virus.

1. Austin’s Trail of Lights

The Trail of Lights in Austin is a staple to the holiday season filled with hot cocoa, carnival rides, and twirling beneath the massive wire light tree. Unfortunately, due to Covid there won’t be the possibility for massive crowds walking through a giant Christmas display. Instead holiday wanderers are going to have to drive through the Zilker Park area in their cars to view the beautiful displays. When the trail first started in 1965 it was a drive through event, but as the event expanded the limited road space was not enough any longer and they had to switch to a walking path. Luckily despite the lights being somewhat downsized visitors will still be able to go and spin under the giant light up tree and get a cup of hot cocoa.

2. COTA Peppermint Parkway

This year with pandemic and the new normal the owners of C.O.T.A. (COTA/Circuit of the Americas) have stepped up in a number of big ways. Whether it is donating food or funds to those who need it or allowing cyclists to use their tracks on Sundays for a nice socially distanced ride they have been there for Austinites. Now they are once again coming through with a new experience called Peppermint Parkway which will allow people to drive through a fantastic one mile light show. Who knows if you are good this year maybe Santa will even show up.

3. Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

This year unfortunately due to Covid-19 you won’t be able to enjoy the usual Bazaar filled with small vendors and live music. This year it’s going to be a virtual event like so many other things. Don’t worry though all of your favorite holiday vendors will be there! The city is planning to even extend the week by a couple days. However, possibly most importantly there will be live music available to stream as you do your holiday shopping.

4. Austin’s New Year

This event is usually filled with a mass gathering on Auditorium Shores with live music, local vendors, and lots of friends gathering together. However, this year is going to look a lot different. You will be able to view the fireworks, however the city is requiring social distance to view the fireworks and limiting attendance. The good news however is that you can usually view the fireworks in some capacity from the water in a kayak or on a paddleboard. Depending on the weather it will make for a fun, safe way to view the bats.

     There are more plans for the holiday season in the works, but unfortunately at the moment many things are still up in the air. I plan to do a follow up post in the near future with more fun plans that the city should be announcing in the coming weeks.

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