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(Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

With Christmas only three days away, it's time to look back at Austin's history during the holiday season.

The city has taken the world by storm with its unique and fun personality, and it only gets better during the holidays.

Here is some history on some beloved holiday traditions in Austin.


Trail of Lights

Modern-day celebrations such as the Austin Trail of Lights, set a guideline of traditions for years to follow in Austin. This year, the Trail of Lights is celebrating its 56th anniversary, continuing traditions despite the pandemic.

It was 1965 when Austin locals began the tradition with Christmas displays all around Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights, known as Yule Fest until 1992, was a drive-through experience until 1998. This year's event returns to its roots in taking place as a drive-thru celebration to combat the pandemic.

The Zilker Holiday Tree has been helping Austin shine bright during the holiday season since 1967. After years of development, the Trail of Lights we know and love today has over two million lights in the park, 90 lighted trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. The beloved Trail of Lights is known nationally for illuminating Austin and won eighth place in USA Today's Top 10 Public Holiday Lighting Display.

37th Street lights

37th Street lights up the neighborhood in 2006.

(CC)

Since 1979, 37th Street has been an Austin holiday destination for Christmas lights. What started as one man decorating houses on the street began a holiday tradition unlike any other with houses on 37th Street lighting up to form the brightest block in town.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, 37th Street has turned off their lights for the first time and canceled the annual event. Residents are hopeful that 37th Street will illuminate the city again next year.

You can check out other holiday light displays going on around Austin here.

Bazaars

A 1906 photo of a Bazaar on Congress Avenue.

(Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)


Bazaars have become another holiday tradition in Austin since before the 1970s. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar began in 1975; the event gave access to local artists and musicians to showcase their work during the holiday season.

Since the arrival of bazaars, Austin has seen numerous others such as The Bazaar, Austin Bazaar, The Arabic Bazaar and the other holiday favorite: Blue Genie Art Bazaar, which is open and operating until Dec. 24.

Unfortunately, the pandemic also impacted the opening of the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, but you can still shop online for gifts by local artists.

Austin has been following tradition for years during the holiday season. Although due to the pandemic some events have been canceled, Austin is still feeling the Christmas spirit.


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This is part of a holiday series counting down to Christmas so make sure to visit Austonia tomorrow, as we reach two days until Christmas.

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Austonia file photo. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.

The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.

Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.

The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.

No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.

According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.

Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be


The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.

Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.

Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."

"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.

This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.

Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.

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