December Annual Events In Austin
What began with a handful of vendors in the Armadillo World Headquarters music venue on a rainy Saturday afternoon in 1976 has grown into a seasonal celebration of Austin’s unique arts and music community and become an annual holiday event for many Austinites. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar features over 160 artists and artisans vending a wide variety and price range of gifts, live music and a full bar. This year's 38th Armadillo Christmas Bazaar will take place at Palmar Events Center, just across the street from it's original location at South First and Barton Springs at the now long-gone Armadillo World Headquarters. Open all the way up to 11 PM on Christmas Eve, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a favorite of last minute Austin shoppers. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free with parent. The dates for the 2013 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar are Wednesday, December 17 through Monday, December 24, 2013.
The free Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park is an almost fifty year tradition in Austin and features more than fifty displays and exhibits including more than 100 trees wrapped in lights and three lighted tunnels. More than one million light bulbs spread over 1.25 miles illuminate the Trail of Lights. The free Trail of Lights event was started in 1965 by the City of Austin Parks Department, the annual event was cancelled in 2010 and 2011 due to budget constraints, but has come back bigger and better since 2012 thanks to corporate sponsorships. The 2013 Trail of Lights features live music from local, regional and national headliners including Ray Benson of Asleep at the While, Vallejo, The Whiskey Sisters and Austin High School Ballet Folklorico, performances from local community groups and schools, North Pole area featuring Santa's House, food courts, food trailers and lots of great iconic photo opportunities throughout the Trail. Capital Metro bus service as well as shuttle service from three locations around Austin is available. A limited number of parking passes are available online at the Trail of Lights website. General admission is free and gates open at 7 PM nightly. The dates for the 2013 Austin Trail of Lights are Sunday, December 8 through Sunday, December 22, 2013.
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar was started over ten years ago by Blue Genie Art Industries, a nationally recognized firm specializing in large-scale commercial fabrication of creative projects including museum exhibits, sculptures and specialty signs. The first Bazaar consisted mostly of items made by Blue Genie Art employee's, but the Bazaar has come to feature unique gifts and artwork from over 130 artists selected through a jury process from a large pool of applicants every year. The items available at this family friendly event range from fun and kitschy to serious art and include paintings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, accessories, glassworks, ceramics, prints, photography and plenty of weird and quirky gifts you won't find anywhere else. The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is organized more like a gallery or retail store than a traditional holiday market in that each artists creates their own display, but there are central cashier stations manned by Blue Genie staff members and artists are not required to be present at the show. In addition to shopping, there are special art and music events throughout the nearly four-week show. Refreshments and a full bar are also available. Admission to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is free and free parking is available. The dates for the 2013 Blue Genie Art Bazaar are Friday, November 29 through Tuesday, December 24, 2013.
Cherrywood Art Fair is an annual two day Christmas holiday shopping event in December showcasing over 100 artists along with food, live music and fun stuff for kids to do in a family-friendly environment. All items sold at the Cherrywood Art Fair must be original artwork and artist vendors are selected through a juried process. The Cherrywood Art Fair takes place at Maplewood Elementary School in the Delwood neighborhood of Austin and there is always a silent auction to raise money for the school. Admission to the Cherrywood Art Fair holiday shopping event is free. The dates for the 2013 Cherrywood Art Fair are Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8, 2013.
Spinning under the Zilker Park Christmas Tree is one of the best fun, free things to do during the holiday season. The Zilker Tree is 155 feet tall with 39 streamers of multicolored lights arranged in a spiral pattern around the Zilker Park Moontower. The Moontower at Zilker Park is one of the original Moontowers placed around Austin in the 1800's as a system of artificial street lighting. The moontower at Zilker Park was moved to it's current location from Emma Long Metropolitan Park, replacing the replica tower that was originally used for the Zilker Park Christmas Tree starting in 1967. The Zilker Park Christmas Tree is the largest man-made, free-standing holiday tree in the world. On the opposite side of Barton Springs Road from the Trail of Lights, the Zilker Christmas Tree features food venders and entertainment nightly from 6 PM to midnight. Free on-site parking will be available at the Zilker Christmas Tree December 1 thru 5 and December 22 thru 31 only due to activities related to the Trail of Lights. The dates for the 2013 Zilker Park Christmas Tree are Sunday, December 1 through Tuesday, December 31, 2013.