Thursday, October 22, 2020

54th Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Installation and Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony

For immediate release:
Oct. 22, 2020
Tree Installation: Austin Energy, Jennifer Herber 512-299-1740
Ceremony/Visitation: PARD, Media Line 512-974-5723


54th Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Installation and
Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony

WHAT: Austin Energy crews will string lights to transform the Zilker moonlight tower into the Zilker Holiday Tree. The tree lighting ceremony will be virtual in 2020; see more information below.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Best time for visuals: 9 - 11 a.m.

On-site contact: Austin Energy PIO, Jennifer Herber, 512-299-1740

WHERE: Zilker Park, south of Barton Springs Road near Andrew Zilker Road

MORE: Austin Energy crews will string the 155-foot-tall Zilker Holiday Tree in preparation for the first-ever virtual lighting ceremony.

Most of the bulbs on the Zilker Holiday Tree in 2019 were LED bulbs, with the exception of the yellow ones, which were harder to find in stock. However, this year, all of the lights on the tree will be LED bulbs. LEDs consume less electricity and are longer lasting.

The tree is decorated with 39 strings of light, each containing 81 red, yellow, green and blue bulbs. The strategic placement of the yellow bulbs on each string gives the tree its distinctive and dizzying swirl pattern.

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. Only 17 of Austin's original moonlight towers remain and serve as 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 beloved community tradition.


Over the years, the Tree Lighting ceremony has become Austin's official kick-off to the holiday season. In response to COVID-19, this year's event will be a virtual celebration for all to enjoy!

The virtual lighting ceremony will take place on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. The ceremony will be streamed on ATXN Channel 6 as well as the social media channels for Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD), City of Austin and Austin Energy.

The tree will be on display from Nov. 29, 2020, through Jan. 1, 2021, from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Due to the pandemic, on-site access will be assessed by the City of Austin and announced closer to the event date in order to work from the most current public health information available. 

Find more information at

As in years past, the young winners from PARD's annual Zilker Holiday Tree art contest will be helping to flip the switch and light up the tree. View this year's winning art pieces, and congratulations to this year's winners:

JUNIOR DIVISION WINNERS (5 – 7 years old) 

  • First Place: Neil Bhokare
  • Second Place: Anna-Caterina Tsai
  • Third Place: Anamaria Banda

SENIOR DIVISION WINNERS (8 – 10 years old)

  • First Place: Aaliyah Webb
  • Second Place: Ava Wessels
  • Third Place: Ayin Park
About Austin Energy 
Customer Driven. Community Focused. 
Austin Energy, the City of Austin's electric utility, lights a brighter future for more than 500,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents in Greater Austin. The utility's commitment to providing value powers the community and the innovation and culture that has made Austin a destination city. Austin Energy has powered the community for 125 years, delivering safe, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service. The publicly owned utility will continue to shine a light into the future. For more information about Austin Energy, visit
About the Austin Parks and Recreation Department
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is an award-winning park system with more than 300 parks, 227 miles of trails and more than 20,000 acres of greenspace. The Department serves the public by providing, protecting and preserving a park system that promotes quality recreational, cultural and outdoor experiences. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers an essential public service and demonstrates economic value, health and environmental benefits, and social importance by improving the overall quality of life for Austin residents and visitors.  For more information, visit


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