Shining bright: One local tradition you may not have heard of


With the holiday season fast approaching, many Austinites and visitors alike flock to the various festive events hosted around the city, most notably the over 50-year old tradition that lights up Zilker Park come each December: the Trail of Lights. But one light show you might not hear about as often, but still draws quite the crowd, can be found in West Austin just next door to the Hula Hut.


Mozart’s Coffee Roasters has promoted their dedication to providing freshly prepared, quality coffee, and pastries to their customers since the institution’s founding in 1993. While during the year, Mozart’s serene location provides easy access to relaxing on the shore of Lake Austin, come November the coffee shop’s extensive patio is transformed into what can only be described as a winter wonderland.


For the past several years, Mozart’s has put on a “Texas Sized light experience” featuring iconic Christmas songs, some contemporary pop favorites, and of course, a climactic performance of the University of Texas fight song. Year after year the show has become more and more elaborate, adding in more handmade pieces, incorporating more familiar songs and holiday icons into its rotating cast of characters, and of course adding more complexity into the synchronization of the lights to music.


The increasing growth of the “extravaganza” has lead to not only more crowds traveling to the cafe, but also more dedication to detail and more expectation to deliver a show more spectacular than the year before. This year, for the first time ever, Mozart’s show features over one million fully synchronized LED lights, including a fully interactive audio-activated wall of lights for viewers to enjoy.


Another difference from years past has come as a result of the pressing crowds and parking issues of years past. Instead of hosting a 15-minute light show beginning at the top of every hour, as the coffee shop has always done, the show this year will start and 6pm and run continuously until 11pm. The event this year will also be host to live music from local Austin choirs and other choral groups, another first for the Mozart’s show.


One of the things that makes the Mozart’s show so unique is the inclusion of many Austin landmarks, such as the Austin skyline and the capitol building, which “dances” to the music along with bats from underneath the Congress avenue bridge and guitars representing the downtown sculpture installations from Gibson’s “Guitar Town” art project.


While the Trail of Lights is a traditional Austin staple, the Mozart’s Coffee Roasters 2017 Christmas Light Show could mark the beginning of a new era in holiday light experiences by Austinites, for Austinites. The free event runs every night from November 17th until January 1st (except Christmas day) from 6pm to 11pm.