The Trail of Lights Foundation announced on Friday that they’ll be charging an entrance fee in 2014. Before you have a conniption, take a breath and consider the important facts:
- The gate fee will only be charged on the weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
- The weekend gate fee will only be $3.
- Visitors 11 years old and younger will still get in free.
- This is not necessarily a permanent change. The gate fee will be considered on an annual basis.
The 2014 Trail of Lights is scheduled to run from December 7-21, 2014. Nine of the 15 nights will be completely free to attend, including Grand Opening night on Sunday, December 7th.
Why the Gate Fee?
The Foundation has given several reasons for the weekend gate fee. They say it will “improve Trail-goer experience” and “strengthen the event’s sustainability.” The extra funds will cover security and staff members, and cover the cost of new activities and displays.
Here’s a really exciting consequence of the new fee: it will encourage some attendees to go on week nights instead of the weekend, keeping weekend Trail nights from devolving into a holiday stampede (you know exactly what I’m talking about).
This is going to be the 50th year the Trail of Lights brightens Austin for the holidays. Many of us remember the years the Trail of Lights went dark, before the Foundation took over and revitalized this special tradition. I, for one, don’t want to see the Trail go dark ever again. If a $3 weekend entrance fee is what it keeps to keep the Trail blazing, you won’t hear me complain.
Learn more about the 2014 Trail of Lights at AustinTrailofLights.org.
What is your opinion on the weekend gate fee for 2014?
I think this is an awesome idea! It’s such an important part of the holiday season, but Austin has grown sooooo much since it started. It can’t keep growing to accommodate everyone and still remain totally free. Can’t wait to check it out this year!
I think it’s a great idea. Maybe it’ll be less crowded on the weekends, and it’s not forcing anyone to pay – only weekend visitors!
Does anyone know if there is a parking fee like last year..or if there are wheel chairs to rent for those who need them?
Serena, parking info is here: http://austintrailoflights.org/insiders-guide/faq/parking – and ADA access info is here: http://austintrailoflights.org/insiders-guide/faq/ada-access. Enjoy the Trail this year!