Holiday fun: Get in the holiday spirit

Published 2:43 pm Saturday, November 26, 2011

A new and very exciting event to our area this Christmas season is the Austin Festival of Lights.

It just opened Friday and you can drive through and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas — right at our nearby Jellystone Park (formerly known as Beaver Trails Campgrounds). In case you’re unfamiliar with its location, it’s at I-90, Exit 187 just outside of Austin.

From 5 to 11 p.m. each night through Dec. 31, hundreds of vehicles are expected to come into the campgrounds to enjoy all of the lighted visual displays while Christmas music plays.

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There is a wonderful representation of our area there, from businesses and organizations like the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau hosting displays. You’ll find our display at the very end of the lights display trail.

Admission is just $15 per vehicle and only $10 for each bus or limousine that passes through.

Proceeds will benefit several non-profit organizations in the area. This is a great way to enjoy the holidays, see the dazzle of the lights from the warmth and comfort of your own vehicle, while also helping out great causes.

Bring along a hot chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the view. There’s no need to drive far this year to get your holiday lighting experience — it has come to us. We really want to express our thanks to Kiersten Hall, her family and friends for bringing this first-ever event to the area.


Come out for TubaChristmas

The Austin CVB will be sharing many great Christmas events over the next few columns as we move into the Christmas season.

The next event is set for Saturday when we are hosting Austin’s second Annual TubaChristmas Concert. It is planned for 1 p.m. at the center court at Oak Park Mall.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by rehearsal from 10 a.m. until noon. TubaChristmas celebrates its 38th anniversary this year, with concerts set for over 250 cities across the globe. Now in its second year in Austin, the free Christmas concert at Oak Park Mall will be presented by performers ages 8 to 90 plus.

All tuba, baritone, sousaphone and euphonium players of any age are welcome. Players are encouraged to bring a music stand, their instrument and to wear bright holiday colors. Concerts have been presented in Mason City, Northfield and other cities nearby for several years now, and many local folks have gone there to perform or to enjoy the concerts.

This year, you can stay home and have the same holiday fun with our own established Austin’s Merry TubaChristmas event.

The cost to performers is just $5 for the commemorative collectible button (music will be provided). If you’d like to see the music that will be used, please stop by the Austin Park & Rec office and see Valerie Pitzen.

Val has the music books that were purchased especially for TubaChristmas concerts; she was the driving force in bringing this event to our area.

The concert is free for the listening audience. We hope lots of people plan to attend this concert at Oak Park Mall on Dec. 3.

It is guaranteed to put you in the festive Christmas spirit.

We are seeking donations for door prizes for the players. Last year, we had enough great prizes donated, that each player received a gift.

For more information or to give a donation to assist students and adult tuba players, please contact me at the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, 507-437-4563. For more information about this fun and exciting event, go to