The Zilker Holiday Tree will adorn the park yet again this holiday season near the site of this year's first drive-thru Trail of Lights.
The tree will be installed on Oct. 23 but won't be lit until Nov. 29 at 6 p.m., during the first-ever virtual lighting ceremony for its 54th anniversary. Additionally, Zilker Park closures will begin Oct. 30 to make room for the 2020 Trail of Lights holiday event.
While the Trail of Lights will be held in a drive-thru capacity, the City of Austin has yet to announce whether or not the Zilker Holiday Tree will be available for in-person viewing. A decision should be decided in the coming months after assessing the state of the pandemic.
The installation of the tree will transform the Zilker moontower, one of 15 remaining moontowers in Austin, with 39 strings of lights. The tree is the largest man-made tree on display and stands 155 feet tall, encompassing the moontower. This year, the tree will use all LED bulbs, which last longer and consume less electricity.
The Zilker Holiday Tree will be on display from Nov. 29 through Jan. 1 from 6 p.m. to midnight every night. The lighting ceremony will be streamed on ATXN Channel 6 and on social media channels of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, City of Austin and Austin Energy.
And while the Trail of Lights opens Nov. 28 through Jan. 3 as a drive thru, the impact to Zilker Park is similar to past years.
Starting Oct. 30, the city will close Lou Neff Road—the road that circles the park grounds where the Trail of Lights and Austin City Limits Music Festival occurs. The 45-acre off-leash Great Lawn will remain open, however, through Nov. 8, according to a map provided by the city. Alternative parking sites have been identified for those still hoping to use the green space.
Starting Nov. 9, roughly half of the Great Lawn portion of Zilker Park will close to allow Trail of Lights event organizers to start setting up. Additionally, Rollingwood Drive just west of MoPac will restrict traffic to only allow neighborhood residents each evening from 5-11 p.m. Stratford Drive near Lady Bird Lake will also close to all through traffic each night starting Nov. 9.
The map outlines the complicated routes motorists must take to access the event, showing option for both northbound and southbound motorists on MoPac. Essentially, attendees are directed down Lake Austin Boulevard and past Red Bud Isle before circling back toward Zilker Park.
The partial park closure runs through Jan. 10, allowing event organizers almost a week to deconstruct the Winter Wonderland, including all 2 million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees and 70-plus other holiday displays. That means Zilker Park will have limited access for little more than two months.
More on the Trail of Lights:
- Austin Trail of Lights plans for drive-thru event due to COVID - austonia ›
- scenic Austin nature and skyline from sunrise to sunset - austonia ›
- Dia de los Muertos: Austinites put up altars despite COVID - austonia ›
- Peppermint Parkway drive-thru at COTA tickets now on sale - austonia ›
- How risky are your holiday plans this year? - austonia ›
- 5 ways to have a more eco-friendly holiday this year - austonia ›
- Brief history: how Austin's moontowers came to be - austonia ›
- Passes on sale for second Trail of Lights drive-thru event - austonia ›
- Windcrest couple wins $50,000 prize in “Great Christmas Light Fight" - austonia ›
- Trail of Lights to return in-person for the first time since 2019 - austonia ›
So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!